LINDSBORG— The McPherson College men's basketball team opened up conference play on Wednesday night with a 79-71 loss on the road at Bethany College.
The Bulldogs went toe-to-toe with a Swede team that was picked a couple of spots higher in the KCAC preseason polls. At the end of the first half, the Bulldogs trailed Bethany by four points, 34-30, despite only making 3 of 22 shots from beyond the arc.
The second half saw each team make several offensive runs, with the Bulldogs leading by as many as six points midway through the period. In the end, it was the Swedes that would make the final push, outscoring the Bulldogs 14-6 over the final four minutes of action.
For the game, the Bulldog offense shot just 34 percent from the floor, and 22 percent from three-point land. They also left a lot of points on the floor at the charity stripe where they were just 8 of 14. One positive note is that the Bulldogs took care of the basketball. They finished the game with just 10 turnovers compared to 15 from the Swedes.
Another positive outlook was the debut of Gage Maccoy. Maccoy was forced to redshirt last season after suffering a knee injury, and then missed the first four games of this year after developing planter fasciitis during the preseason. He finished with three points in 16 minutes.
Individually, the Bulldogs had three player score in double figures led by Lual Magot, who recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Fred Watts, who also had 15 points. The third member of the double digit trio was Delvon Hightower, who chipped in 13 points, and also added four assists.
"I thought we battled tonight, though we didn't shoot the ball real well from the perimeter," Bulldogs coach TJ Eskildsen said. "Lual was a monster on the glass. If we can keep playing with the same energy I feel like good things will happen. We need to be ready for a good Tabor team on Saturday."
The loss drops the Bulldogs to 3-2 on the year, and 0-1 in KCAC play. As Coach Eskildsen eluded to, the Bulldogs will host the Tabor College Bluejays on Saturday at the Sport Center. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. following the women's game.