By Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
The record may say 13-5, but McPherson College men’s basketball team is undefeated in 2020.
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs defeated their conference rival, Bethany College, extending their winning streak to six. Since their last loss to Bethel College on Dec. 11, the Bulldogs found different ways to get on the winning track. In the last six games, the Bulldogs averaged 90.6 points a game. One of their signature wins was a stunning loss to Ottawa University on the road. A team that was ranked in the top 10 in the country.
“I feel like we’re really starting to find our rhythm offensively,” TJ Eskildsen said. “I think early in the year we were playing at such a fast pace, it was a little bit different from what we had been doing. It’s taken some time to figure out what’s a good shot, where guys need to be, and I really feel like we’re taking that next step on the offensive end. I didn’t think we played all that great defensively in the first half. I thought we played with a lot of energy, but not a whole lot of focus on what we were doing. I thought in the second half we were much better.”
The Bulldogs may not have the size or the height advantage, but they make up for it with their speed and athleticism. On Wednesday”s win over Bethany College, Delvon Hightower had a career-high 27 points. Lual Magot added 21 points, including three explosive dunks to get everyone in the Sports Center out of their seats. Magot averages 14.53 points a game 9.84 rebounds a game, slightly a double-double.
“It’s huge to see seniors who stepped up and make plays for you. For those guys, it’s their last go-around. They want to see how successful they can be this year,” Eskildsen said. “Him, Lual and Dorian (Paige), I thought they all gave us great minutes.. It’s exciting to see those guys step up in their senior year and make plays.”
It’s exciting, the guys have bought in and they are playing for each other and they are having fun. That is something that is exciting to see and it’s amazing what happens when everybody is bought in. Overall, we’re getting better at every aspect. We just got to keep taking steps and keep improving.”
After their next game against Tabor College on Saturday, the Bulldogs will have to play three conference games next week, but they will be at home three of the next four games. Mac College is 8-1 at home. Continuing the winning pace, the Bulldogs are looking to get working their way to the top three in the conference and potentially win home-court advantage during the KCAC Conference Tournament. The Bulldogs are sitting third behind Oklahoma Wesleyan (15-4, 10-3) and Ottawa (16-3, 10-3).
“There are no easy games, especially going to Hillsboro,” Eskildsen said. “We got to be ready to play on Saturday. I think we will. I think we have the leadership and we’ll be ready to go. I’m excited about the run here.”
The Bulldogs will be at Tabor College on Saturday at 7.p.m.