Article by Quincy Williams
Photo by Micah Gilbert
The McPherson men’s basketball team fought tooth and nail for a 74-69 win over the Sterling Warriors Thursday night. The Bulldogs were not at their offensive or defensive best Thursday night, but their effort on both ends carried them. The win moves them to 8-3 on the season and 5-2 in KCAC play.
The Bulldogs trailed for most of the first half before a late run catapulted them to a 35-32 lead. Poor shooting was the main culprit, along with a few careless passes. The Bulldogs only shot 38.2 percent from the field in the first half, while the Warriors were more accurate shooting at a 46.7 percent clip. The Bulldogs outperformed the Warriors in virtually all areas of the game, but they couldn’t get shots to fall. They were one of nine from the three-point line in the first half. The Bulldogs also struggled at the line. They made 15 trips but only got eight to go. Delvon Hightower and Fred Watts were the bright spots in the first half. They got to the rim at will and converted their chances.
The second half was marginally better for the Bulldogs offense. They began to establish some semblance of an offensive rhythm. Lual Magot and Grant Munsen rebounded with vigor and brought much-needed energy. The Bulldogs struggled mightily from the three-point line going 1 for 15 in the half, and just 2 fprm24 for the game, but their forays to the rim were fruitful.
The Bulldogs went on a run that pushed their lead to 12 with less than eight minutes left in the game. The Warriors responded with a run of their own that cut the lead to one, 69-68, with 01:37 left in the game. A timely bucket from Josh Rivers gave the Bulldogs a 72-68 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
“Sometimes you need to win games ugly,” Bulldogs coach T.J. Eskilden said. “We definitely did not shoot the ball well but still made enough plays to win the game. I was proud of our guys for gutting that win out. Now we need to focus and get ready to play a very good Oklahoma Wesleyan team on Saturday.”
The Bulldogs play Oklahoma Wesleyan in McPherson on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Points: Hightower, 15
Rebounds: Magot, 12
Assists: Magot, Watts, 3
Blocks: Rivers, 1
Steals: Gage McCoy, 3
MAC (74) – Hightower (15), Watts (14), Magot (11), Maccoy (9), Munsen (7), Jenkins (5), Rivers (5), Shelvin (4), Paige (4).