The Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes played one of their best halves of the season in the first half on Thursday night against Friends. The second half wasn’t too bad either. The Coyotes rocketed out to an early lead and never looked back as the Coyotes cruised to a third straight win 97-77 at Mabee Arena.
“I am really proud of these guys,” Wesleyan head coach Anthony Monson said. “Even though we had a few too many turnovers, we made our free throws and guarded a little bit better and it paid off for us tonight.”
The Coyotes held Friends to just 27 first half points and 34.3 percent shooting, which included going 0-for-12 from 3-point range and 3-of-8 at the foul line.
Meanwhile Wesleyan’s offense was virtually unstoppable in the first half hitting 18-of-31 shots for 58.1 percent, led by Brendon Ganaway (SR/Houston, Texas) who had 18 at the break and finished with 32 for the game.
Monson knew that it was important for the Coyotes to maintain and build on the first half, all while keeping their composure in the moment of the game.
“We talked about composure in the locker room at halftime. We had a fantastic half (in the first) and we knew we were going to be challenged,” he said. “I thought we lost it for just a little bit there, but we just kept working and we snapped out of it.”
Ganaway set a new career high with 32 points, while AJ Range (JR/Junction City, Kan.) collected his sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
“You gotta give a hats off to Brendon Ganaway and AJ Range tonight,” Monson said. “Those two were absolute monsters for us tonight. Really hats off to everyone tonight, we really played well up and down the lineup.”
Wesleyan trailed 2-0 out of the gates, but used an 11-0 run to take a nine-point lead with 16:09 left in the opening period.
A 3 by Ganaway put the Coyotes up 11 at 17-6 and Trey Duffey (FR/Topeka, Kan.)’s three-point play with 13:28 left in the half made it 20-8 in favor of the Coyotes.
A four-point play by James Brooks (SR/Frontenac, Kan.) put the Coyotes up 16 and three possessions later Brooks buried a triple to put the Coyotes up 19 at 31-12 with 10:03 to go in the half.
Wesleyan would push the lead out to 27 on free throws by Ganaway after a foul and technical foul on Friends’ Jarrett Murphy with 6 seconds left in the half.
Range and Ganaway combined to score the first five points of the second half to give the Coyotes their biggest lead of the night at 59-27.
The Falcons battled back getting within 15 with 7:33 to go, but the Coyotes would get things going again, taking a 93-71 lead on Zay Wilson (SR/Austin, Texas)’s bucket with 3:19 to go.
Brooks added 11 for the Coyotes who finished the game shooting 53.6 percent (30-of-56). The Coyotes also dominated the rebounding totals 49-31 led by Range’s 12, while Brooks had seven and Wilson and Brayden White (JR/Topeka, Kan.) had five each.
The Coyotes are back in action on Saturday, heading to Lindsborg to take on the Swedes at 7 p.m. in Hahn Gym.