Coyotes fend off late run, top Spires 71-64

A run down the stretch by the Saint Mary Spires made things interesting, but the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes would remain in control and would top the Spires 71-64 on Saturday night inside Mabee Arena.Wesleyan led by 16 with 7:28 left in the game when the Spires made the move cutting the difference to four at 61-57 with 3:18 to go, capping a 16-4 run.Alex Littlejohn scored to stop the Spire run as the Coyotes built the lead back out to eight at 67-59 with 1:30 left. Saint Mary again cut it to five with 25 seconds left, but Littlejohn’s free throws at the end sealed the win for the Coyotes.After falling behind 2-0 out of the gates, the Coyotes used a 16-3 run to open the game to take a 16-5 lead with 12:30 to go in the first. Saint Mary cut the difference to seven at 23-16, but the Coyotes pushed the lead out to 33-21 at the half.Wesleyan led by 14 to open the second half, but Saint Mary cut it to eight at 42-34 before a 5-0 KWU spurt capped by Jun Murdock’s score made it 47-34 with 13:22 to go in the game.A free throw by Gabe Phillips gave Wesleyan its first 16-point cushion with 8:13 to go in the game.Murdock led all scorers in the game with 21 while Littlejohn added 16 and pulled down 13 rebounds for yet another double-double. Izaiah Hale had 11 points, all in the first half. KWU was 25 of 57 shooting for 43.9 percent, aided by a 52 percent effort in the second half (13 of 25). Thurbil Bile added eight rebounds and Murdock seven as KWU outrebounded Saint Mary 42-34.Wesleyan is off until January 3 when the Coyotes head to Winfield to take on No. 11 ranked Southwestern inside Stewart Field House.