Kansas Wesleyan won its game against Manhattan Christian by a wide margin but coach Anthony Monson wasn’t in much of a celebratory mood afterwards.
A lack of fire and allowing the Thunder to score 40 points in the second half took the luster off the Coyotes’ 97-68 non-conference victory Tuesday night inside Mabee Arena.
“We didn’t have any energy, we weren’t intense,” Monson said. “The second half we shot the ball extremely well (65.6 percent) but we still gave up 40 points. I’m never going to be happy with that and I told the guys that can’t happen again.”
KWU moved to 3-0 on the season by shooting 53 percent for the game (37 of 70) that included 13 3-pointers (13 of 28) and outrebounded the Thunder 42-36. MCC shot 40.6 percent (26 of 64) for the game but 44 percent the second half (14 of 32).
“When you want to win and play bad you can learn a lot and it doesn’t cost a whole lot,” Monson said. “But we can’t give that type of effort on a nightly basis. We’ll watch film and it will help us get better and we’ll understand that.”
Starting forward Alex Littlejohn (SO/Newton, Kan.) had another monstrous game finishing with 10 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. The Coyotes also got huge efforts from three reserves – Marcel Dean (JR/Tucson, Ariz.), Tyus Jeffries (SR/Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Trey Duffey (JR/Topeka, Kan.).
Dean scored a game-high 16 points that included five 3-pointers, four in the second half when he scored 13. Jeffries had 13 points and Duffey nine points and eight rebounds in a typically gritty effort. He had six points and seven rebounds the second half.
“We had to find a group of guys that can get the job done and get to where we needed to be and we did and they did a good job,” Monson said.
Dean was 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.
“I watch a lot of Steph Curry,” Dean said of his quick-release shot that favors Curry. “My favorite player is Chris Paul but I play a different role now. Steph Curry is more of a knock-it-down (shooter).
“My mindset coming in is to be comfortable and shoot the ball because that’s what coach wants me to do. I feel like I’m pretty efficient.”
Dean, a transfer from Pima Community College (Ariz.) and key contributor last season, said the team wasn’t at its best.
“We didn’t have the energy tonight but I thought we picked it up a little bit the second half,” he said. “We got the energy in second but we came out sluggish. We’ll get back to the drawing board tomorrow.”
The Coyotes took control early on with a 15-2 first half run that gave them a 20-8 lead with 13 minutes left but scored just three points the final 2:55 and led 42-28 at the break.
They stomped on the accelerator the final 20 minutes fueled by their perimeter shooting, 8 of 12, and scored 55 points on 21 of 32 shooting. Seventeen Coyotes played in the game and 14 scored.
“The crazy part about tonight was we had a great practice (Monday),” Monson said. “We were much more intense and much more focused in practice. We talked about ‘hey guys, it’s not like we were playing bad, we just came out sluggish and lethargic. I think a lot has to do with you not respecting the game, you’re not respecting the opponent. You need to work a little bit harder to get the job done.'”
KWU has eight days off before opening Kansas Conference play against rival Bethany on November 16 in Mabee Arena. The women’s game starts at 6 p.m. followed by the men at around 8.