By McPherson College Athletics
NORTH NEWTON— The McPherson College men’s basketball team fell to 8-5 (5-4 in KCAC) with a loss on the road Wednesday to the Bethel College Threshers.
Earlier on Wednesday, the latest NAIA top 25 coaches poll was released, and the Threshers were ranked 20th. They lived up to their billing, remaining unbeaten on their home court, and moving to 11-2 overall and 6-1 in KCAC play.
The Bulldogs came out after the tip and punched the Threshers in the mouth. They opened the game confidently, scoring the first six points of the half. After the initial shock, the Threshers regrouped and quickly erased the Bulldog lead. At the midway point of the half, the game was still tight with the Threshers holding a slight four-point lead 17-13. At the 6:43 mark, the Bulldogs were still hanging tough down just two points, 24-22, but in the final six minutes, the Threshers outscored the Bulldogs 19 to 9 to extend their lead to 12 at the break, 43-31.
In the second half, the Bulldogs stayed in the fight but were unable to overcome the hole they dug for themselves in the opening 20 minutes. Five minutes into the second frame, the Threshers had their largest lead of the game, an 18 point margin, 55-37. The Bulldogs could have folded and thrown in the towel, but instead, they dug in and continued to fight. Over the next six minutes, they trimmed the lead back down to single digits, 69-60, but that was as close as they would get. The Threshers got back into a groove and regained the momentum. They finished the game, holding the Bulldogs at bay with a 13 point victory.
Lual Magot again paced the Bulldogs offensively, matching his career-high 24 points, which he set last Saturday against Oklahoma Wesleyan. He also added 14 rebounds, giving him his eighth double-double of the season, third-most in the KCAC. Also in double figures for the Bulldogs were Dorian Page with 12, and Fred Watts and Josh Rivers with 10.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well enough in the first half to beat a very good bethel team,” Bulldog Head Coach TJ Eskildsen said. “We showed fight the whole second half but we need to be better. We will continue to improve. I have faith in this group and their competitiveness.”
The Bulldogs will finish off 2019 this weekend when they head down to Phoenix, Arizona to play a couple of games. They will play the Bendictine-Mesa Red Hawks on Saturday and then wrap up the trip on Sunday against Park University-Gilbert on Sunday. Both games will tip-off at 4 p.m.