Chris Crook scored a team-high 16 points off the bench and Thomas Butler and DeAndre Henson both posted double-doubles but the McPherson College men's basketball team could not overcome a hot-shooting Ottawa University squad as the Bulldogs fell to the Braves, 86-72, in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play Saturday night at the Sport Center.
The Bulldogs (7-11, 1-9 KCAC) jumped out to a 10-7 lead after just 5:08 behind eight points from Butler, including a pair of 3-pointers from the top of the key. The Braves (7-10, 5-5 KCAC) responded with a 19-1 run over the next 10:23 with the lone McPherson tally coming on a Butler free throw. McPherson missed 16 straight shots, including six 3-point attempts, and committed four turnovers during the stretch before Grant Munsen hit a layup to make it 26-13 with 4:29 remaining in the half.
McPherson was able to claw its way back into the game as the half drew to a close, outscoring Ottawa by a 21-10 margin over the final 4:29 to cut the deficit to just four at halftime.
Logan Bullinger scored two straight baskets to start the second half to put the Braves up by eight, but the Bulldogs rallied for seven of the next eight points to make it a two-point game with 16:21 remaining. Ottawa took advantage of three empty McPherson possessions — two missed shots and a turnover — to rattle off 11 unanswered points. A Crook 3-pointer ended a scoring drought of more than three minutes. A pair of Butler free throws followed to cut the Ottawa lead to eight, but the Braves responded with an 18-5 run capped by a Mike McKinney 3-pointer to take a 21-point lead with 8:11 to play. A late rally cut the deficit to 13 with 1:19 left, but the Bulldogs could get no closer.
Ottawa shot 56.1 percent (32-of-57) from the field, including a blistering 65.5 percent (19-of-29) in the second half, and shot nine 3-pointers. McPherson struggled to 29.4 percent (20-of-68) shooting, connecting on more shots from behind the arc (11-of-32) than inside it (9-of-36). The Bulldogs were, however, very efficient at the free throw line, connecting on 21 of 26 attempts. McPherson held a slim 41-40 edge in rebounds overall, but won the battle on the offensive glass by a 17-7 margin.
Titus Rice finished with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting. He also pulled down a team-high six rebounds and had one assist and one steal. Bullinger added 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, mostly on shots in the paint, with four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Hollis Mitchell and Jeremiah Brooks added 15 points apiece, while McKinney just missed double figures with nine points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field with a 3-pointer. Brooks added seven assists, Kameron Lindsay tallied seven points, six rebounds and four assists.
Crook shot just 4-of-13 from the field and 2-of-6 from 3-point range, but hit 6 of 7 free throws en route to his team-high 16 points. Butler finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Henson had 12 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a steal. Garrett Owen finished with a career-high nine points with four assists, three rebounds and a steal. Two nights following a career-high 34 points at York, Aaron Bachura finished with eight points, four rebounds and two assists. All of his scoring came in the last 3:55.
"It's tough to win when you shoot 29 percent," said head coach Tim Swartzendruber. "We have good shooters, but today we just didn't hit. It was great to see us rebound again and be aggressive on the glass. Obviously, we need to shoot better if we are going to get things turned around."
The Bulldogs close out the first half of the KCAC schedule next Thursday with a trip to Winfield to face Southwestern College (12-6, 5-5 KCAC).