STERLING, Kan. – Kansas Wesleyan got a career high 27 points from Brendon Ganaway (SR/Houston, Texas) as the Coyotes held on to beat the Sterling College Warriors 94-83 on Saturday night at the Gleason Center.
The win boosts Wesleyan’s record to 10-8 overall and 7-6 in the KCAC and was the ninth straight win for the Coyotes over the Warriors. The victory also ends a three-game losing streak for the Coyotes as they head into a challenging stretch next week with three games.
Wesleyan led by 24 points with 16:09 left in the game at 68-44 and seemed to be poised to cruise, but Sterling battled back to make it a game.
Sterling would get back into the game on the heels of a 16-4 run that made it 72-60 with 11:12 left.
The Warriors trimmed the lead into single digits with just under eight minutes left and got as close as three at 78-75 with 5:32 left.
Back came the Coyotes with a pair of huge 3-pointers off the hands of Peyton Hatter (SO/Andover, Kan.) and Brayden White (JR/Topeka, Kan.) to push the lead back out to nine points at 84-75 with 3:39 left in the game.
“The best thing that happened tonight was having our big lead get trimmed down to just a little bit,” Wesleyan head coach Anthony Monson said. “It was great to see the team be tough enough and mature enough to knock down some shots and come away with the win.
“I’ll be honest with you that stretch where it was close gave us more confidence moving forward that a 24 point win would have. We had guys step up and make big shots when we needed them to.”
Ganaway’s score with two minutes left gave the Coyotes a 13-point lead and AJ Range (JR/Junction City, Kan.)’s free throws with 52 seconds left sealed the deal.
Sterling had an 11-10 lead early in the first half, but the Coyotes got things going on five straight points by Ganaway to take a 15-11 lead with 14:38 to go in the opening half.
With Sterling within three with 13:31 left, the Coyotes got buckets by Range and then five more in a row by Ganaway to take a 25-15 lead with 11:39 to go.
Buckets by White and James Brooks (SR/Frontenac, Kan.) extended the run and the KWU lead to 29-15 before Sterling scored again. Brooks would then bury a 3 to put the Coyotes u 15 at 32-17 with 8:29 left in the first.
Sterling got within eight with 5:51 left in the first but the Coyotes got a five-point spurt all by Zay Wilson (SR/Austin, Texas) to take a 43-30 lead with 5:11 to go.
Hatter’s bucket gave KWU a 17-point cushion and Andre Harris (SR/Sioux City, Iowa)’ 3 at the halftime buzzer gave KWU a 55-37 lead at intermission.
Ganaway’s career best led all scorers as KWU put four in double figures while shooting 49.3 percent from the field (35-of-71) for the game after a red hot first half at 55.3 percent (21-of-38). The Coyotes hit 15 3-pointers on the night, the most in a game this season. The last time KWU hit 15 or more 3-pointers was on December 28, 2012 against Southwestern Christian (Okla.). Hatter had 16, Brooks had 15 and Range added 11. Range also led all rebounders in the game with eight as KWU outrebounded the Warriors 36-33. White had eight assists and Ganaway had seven helpers.
“I am really happy for the guys right now,” Monson said.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Coyotes as they host the Tabor Bluejays on Monday night at Mabee Arena at 8 p.m. Friends then visits on Thursday before KWU heads to Lindsborg on Saturday to face the Swedes.