The McPherson College men's basketball team moved to 2-0 on the season, with a 89-56 win over the Dallas Christian College Crusaders on night one of the McPherson Classic tournament.
As they did in their season opener on Tuesday night, the Bulldog men started off slow against a NCCAA non-scholarship team. On Tuesday they trailed the Manhattan Christian College Thunder 13-2 early in the first half, before getting things on track and securing the victory. Friday's game was similar in that the Crusaders jumped out on the Bulldogs 8-2 in the first two minutes of the game, and then lead 13-6 three and a half minutes in.
The Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run at the 16:35 mark of the first half and trimmed the Crusader lead to 13-12 a minute later. Two possessions later the Crusader lead was still at 1 p.m., 15-14, but the Crusaders went on a 6-0 run of their own to push the lead back out to seven points at 21-14. Dallas Christian was hot from beyond the arc in the first half, hitting 7 of 17 and that prolific shooting helped them continue to stretch their lead over the Bulldogs in the opening 20 minutes of play.
With just over five minutes left in the half, the Crusaders had extended their lead to 12 over the Bulldogs, 34-22. Everything the Crusaders threw up, seemed to go in, while the Bulldogs couldn't seem to buy a basket. But the home team didn't go into panic mode. Over the final five minutes of the half, they kept the visitors within striking distance, and at the end of the half, they had trimmed the DCC lead down to nine, 42-31.
The second half was a totally different story. The Bulldogs were patient and disciplined and they began to see results. It also helped that the Crusaders cooled down considerably from three point land. In the second half, they made just 25 percent of their attempts, going 4 of 16. The Bulldogs opened up the half on a 7-0 run to get to within two of the Crusaders, 41-39 at the 18 minute mark. Two minutes later, they had completely erased the halftime deficit and had taken a one point lead, 44-43. From there, they would never look back, and they would not relinquish the lead again in the half.
Once they retook the lead, they kept their foot on the gas. Over the course of the final 20 minutes of action, the Bulldogs outscored Dallas Christian 57 to 14, to win in a blowout fashion 89-56. Coach Swartzendruber said of the effort, "Our defensive effort was great tonight. Give Dallas Christian credit. They shot well in the first half. I was pleased we kept our composure and bounced back in the second half. Our offensive balance was good again."
Shooting percentage was the key for the Bulldogs. They shot just 39% from the floor in the opening half, but came out in the second half and put the ball through the hoop at a 52 percent clip. They knocked down 22 of 42 shots, though they did struggle from behind the arc, where they were just 3 of 21 for the game. As Coach Swartzendruber mentioned, the Bulldog scoring was very balanced. Four players scored in double figures, and two more scored nine. Fredeick Watts II, led the team with a double double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 boards. He was joined in double figures by Dorian Page and Jeffrey Oxford, who each had 11, and Grant Munsen, who shook off early foul trouble to come back and score 10. Just outside of the double digit mark were Careino Gurley and Delvon Hightower, who both had nine points.
Now at 2-0 on the year, the Bulldogs will look to extend their winning streak to three games, when they finish up the "Classic" against Bacone College on Saturday evening at 6 p.m.