By Staff Writer Quincy Williams
LEAVENWORTH – The McPherson College men’s basketball team won its third game in a row, and second straight on the road with a 72-61 victory at St. Mary on Monday night.
The defense paved the way for the Bulldogs as they forced the home team into 15 turnovers and held them to just 30 percent from the floor, and 27 percent from behind the three-point arc. Mac’s defensive effort fueled their offense where they finished 24 of 56 from the floor and 10 of 23 from three-point land.
The Bulldog men trailed the Spires for only about a minute of the game at the 8:37 mark to 7:23 in the opening half. The Bulldogs finished the first half on a 16 to 11 run and took a four-point lead, 31-27 into the locker room at the halftime intermission.
In the second half, the Spires were able to tie the game on two occasions, but the Bulldogs never surrendered the lead. For most of the final 20 minutes of action, the Spires stayed within striking distance. When Mac would gain some separation, the home team seemed to find a way to hit a big three-pointer to reel the Bulldogs back in. Late in the game, the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to go up by 13, giving themselves some breathing room. The Spires got it back to within eight, with under a minute to play, but Delvon Hightower closed the door with a big three-pointer with 18 seconds left to put the Bulldogs back up by 11.
All ten Bulldogs who saw action against the Spires found their way into the scoring column, but only two finished with double figures. Josh Rivers led the Bulldogs in scoring with 14 and joining him in double figures was Lual Magot with 12.
“I was really proud of the toughness and grit that our guys showed tonight,” Bulldog head coach T.J. Eskildsen said. “Our defensive effort was great, and we had big production from our bench once again. We will enjoy this one tonight and then get ready for Sterling at home on Thursday.”
With the win, the Bulldogs are now 7-3 overall, and 4-2 in the KCAC. The Sterling game is slated for 8 p.m. on Thursday at the Sports Center.