Kansas Wesleyan always preaches defense first.
The Coyotes stuck to their motto, holding the Oklahoma Wesleyan Eagles to just three points in the last four minutes, giving KWU a 66-59 victory at Mabee Arena on Saturday. Wesleyan extended its home conference record to 5-0 and the Coyotes held their opponent to below 60 points for the third consecutive contest.
Oklahoma Wesleyan dictated the game early, marching out to a 19-8 advantage with 12:00 to play in the first half. The Coyotes answered with a 12-3 spurt, closing the gap to 22-20 led in the half. The Eagles had a run of their own, scoring seven-straight to create a 36-29 lead going into the locker room.
KWU came out of halftime and knotted up the score at 42-all, following a floater by freshman Darious Hammond with 12:34 to play. OKWU pulled out another 7-0 spurt, but a 12-4 KWU run trimmed the deficit to one. Then, senior Terell Gandy drilled a three to put the Coyotes ahead 56-54 with 4:49 remaining. After a 56-56 tie, senior Jamon Fulton scored four-straight points to spark a 10-3 Coyote run to end the game.
Fulton and Hammond each finished with 10 points. Gandy paced KWU with a season-high 18 points with four rebounds, two blocks, two assists and four steals. Freshman AJ Range played 14 giant minutes, pouring in seven points and pulling down two rebounds.
The Coyotes (9-7, 7-3 KCAC) limited the Eagles to 38 percent from the field in the second half. Wesleyan looks to keep momentum rolling with a road tilt against Tabor on Wednesday. Pregame at 7:45 on FM 104.9.
OKWU 67, KWU 59
Cold shooting and OKWU free throws plagued the Coyotes on Saturday.
To start, the Coyotes were red shot, nailing 7 of 12 shots, but nine turnovers kept the Eagles in the game, trailing 17-12 after the first period. KWU ballooned its cushion to 28-18 following a three by junior Sydney Mortensen. That 10-point lead didn’t last long, moving down to seven at the half, 30-23.
Oklahoma Wesleyan staged the comeback and leading the charge was its leading scorer. Senior Tiffany Rieger poured in 17 of OKWU’s 24 points in the third quarter to put the Eagles out front 47-44 going into the final frame.
The Coyotes reclaimed the upperhand with 2:33 to go after a three by sophomore Haleigh Bradford. Both squads traded blows the next three trips with OKWU getting the final lead change. The Eagles made all 14 of their free throw attempts in the final quarter and held the Coyotes to 27 percent from the field in the second half.
Mortensen ended up with 14 points. Sophomore Courtney Heinen added 11 of 3-of-14 shooting.
Wesleyan (9-9, 6-4) turns to Tabor on Wednesday with pregame at 5:45 on FM 104.9.