Article by Jeremy Nelson
Lindsborg, Kan. – 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 six points midway through the period. In the end, it was the Swedes that would make the final push, outscoring the Bulldogs 14 to 6 over the final four minutes of action.
For the game, the Bulldog offense shot just 34% from the floor, and 22% 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 is that they did a nice job of taking care of the ball. They finished the game with just 10 turnovers compared to 15 from the Swedes.
Another positive was seeing Gage Maccoy (Jr. Lenexa, Kan.) finally on the floor in a Bulldog uniform. Gage was forced to redshirt last season after suffering a knee injury, and then missed the first four games of this season after developing plantar fasciitis during the preseason. He finished with three points on 1 of 7 shooting in 16 minutes, but it was a win finally having him in uniform.
Individually, the Bulldogs had three player score in double figures led by Lual Magot (Sr. Tucson, Ariz.), who recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Fred Watts (Jr. Channelview, Texas), who also had 15 points. The third member of the double-digit trio was Delvon Hightower (Sr. Bakersfield, Calif.), who chipped in 13 points and also added four assists.
Coach Eskildsen summed up his team’s performance saying, “I thought we battled tonight, though we didn’t shoot the ball really well from the perimeter. 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 alluded 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.
MAC (71) – Magot (15), Watts (15), Hightower (13), Shelvin (6), McCrary (6), Rivers (5), Munsen (5), Jenkins (3), Maccoy (3).