By McPherson College Athletics

MESA, AZ.— The McPherson College men’s basketball team took a break from KCAC action to play two non-conference games down in Arizona. First up for the Bulldogs was a Saturday match-up against the Benedictine-Mesa Redhawks.

The desert air seemed to be the cure for whatever was ailing the Bulldog shooters. They came out against the Redhawks and put up 95 points, hitting 34 of 78 shots from the floor, including 14 of 30 from deep. The offense was fueled by a solid night on the defensive end in which they turned the Redhawks over 16 times, and a dominating night on the boards. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Redhawks 47 to 33, and of those 47 boards, 22 of them were of the offensive variety.

In the first half, the Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 10 point lead fueled by a hot shooting performance from Gage McCoy, who had 13 points at the break. At the midpoint of the opening half, the Bulldogs began to cool down a little bit, and the Redhawks began chipping away at the lead. At the 7:42 mark, Benedictine took their first lead of the game 29-28. From that point, the game went back and forth until the horn sounded and the teams went into the locker room, knotted at 43.

At the start of the second half, the Bulldogs began to heat up again from the floor. They methodically built a ten-point lead at the 13:56 mark. Kemryn Jenkins came into the ball game and caught fire from behind the arc. He went 5 for 5 in the second half, helping the Bulldogs to 15 point lead with 8:17 left in the game. He would finish the contest 6 of 7 from three-point land and 2 of 2 from the free-throw line for a season-high 20 points.

Mac got a little sloppy in the waning minutes, and the Redhawks trimmed the Bulldog lead back down to single digits. In the end, the Bulldogs were able to hang on for a 94 -85 victory. Joining Jenkins in double-figures in scoring were Fred Watts with 22, Delvon Hightower with 15, and Maccoy with 13. Watts also grabbed 11 rebounds to record his fifth double-double of the season. Lual Magot just missed out on a double-double, finishing with eight points, and ten boards.

“It was great to see our guys compete against a very good Benedictine team,” Bulldog Head Coach TJ Eskildsen said. “It is exciting for our Arizona guys to get home and play in front of their families. Kemryn was also huge for us tonight. He has been due for a breakout game. We need to be ready to go tomorrow with a quick turnaround.”

The Bulldogs will be back on the hardwood on Sunday afternoon, wrapping up their desert tour against the Park University-Gilbert Buccaneers. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. CST.