Kansas Wesleyan coach Anthony Monson had a simple explanation why his basketball team lost a game it seemingly had control of late in the second half.
Hastings rallied from a 14-point deficit in the final 7 minutes, 56 seconds and stunned the Coyotes 78-74 in the Rib Crib Kansas Wesleyan Coyote Classic at Mabee Arena on Saturday.
Kevin Miller’s 3-pointer with 47 seconds left gave the Broncos a 75-74 lead. Marquis Kraemer (SO/Aurora, Colo.) drove to the rim on Wesleyan’s next possession, but missed the shot and the Broncos made 3 of 4 free throws the final 18 seconds as Hastings hung on.
“There’s a lot of things that happened, but the game came down to their guy made a shot, our guy missed a shot,” Monson said. “They made a big 3 and we missed a take to the rim. You can talk about this or that – yeah, there was a lot leading up to that point — but when you play good teams that’s usually what it comes down to.”
KWU dropped to 6-7 with its third consecutive loss while Hastings improved to 12-4 with its third consecutive victory.
The Coyotes appeared to have things under control after a 13-0 run gave them a 60-44 lead with 11:24 left – Brendan Ganaway’s two free throws following a technical foul on Miller accounting for the final points.
The foul was the fourth on Miller, Hastings’ senior point guard and co-leading scorer, and sent him to the bench.
Nate Leach’s 3-pointer gave the Coyotes a 67-53 advantage with 7:56 left, prompting Hastings’ coach Bill Gavers to put Miller back in the game.
The Broncos’ promptly began their comeback with him back on the floor.
A 19-4 run gave Hastings a 72-71 lead with 2:11 left, but KWU regained the upper hand, 74-72, with 1:14 remaining following an AJ Range (SO/Junction City, Kan.) basket and Kraemer free throw.
Miller gave Hastings the lead for good with his clutch 3-pointer. After Kraemer’s miss, Brendan Lipovsky made one of two free throws with 18.1 seconds left, increasing the Broncos’ lead to 76-74.
After back-to-back timeouts, Wesleyan turned the ball over with 3.3 seconds remaining and Lipovsky sealed it with two free throws with 2.7 seconds left. Lipovsky was 11 of 13 from the foul line for the game — 9 for 9 the second half.
“When you play good teams that’s usually what it comes down to,” Monson said. “You’ve got to be able to finish and you’ve got to be able to execute.”
Wesleyan shot 42.6 percent from the field (26 of 61), including 8 of 23 from 3-point range. Hastings shot 44.1 percent (26 of 59) and was 11 of 30 beyond the arc.
The Coyotes won the rebounding battle 36-35 and had 14 turnovers that led to 17 points while Hastings had 15 turnovers that resulted in 12 KWU points.
“For the most part we did a good job all night long,” Monson said. “We got a big lead, but then we started turning the ball over and we got a little sloppy.
“We lost a little bit of focus on the defensive end, we just weren’t quite as crisp as we were supposed to be, we lost some communication here and there. But you’ve got to give them credit, they knocked down shots when they needed to knock down shots.”
Range led Wesleyan with 13 points, going 6 of 6 from the field, and had a team-best seven rebounds in 20 minutes of play. Kraemer scored 12 and had three assists and three steals, Jordan McNelly (JR/Salina, Kan,) had 11 points and Leach 10. Ithello Cross (SR/Gainesville, Ga.) chipped in six rebounds, six points and two blocks.
“It wasn’t an execution thing, it wasn’t effort thing tonight,” Monson said. “It was more of they hit their shots and their opportunities, and we didn’t cash in at the end of the game.”
Hastings got 21 points and seven rebounds from Lipovsky while Miller had 19 points and seven rebounds.
The Coyotes resume Kansas Conference play Wednesday when they travel to Hillsboro for a game against Tabor, with pregame at 5:45 on FM 104.9.
MACU 74, KWU 72
Sophomore forward Virja Lewis (SO/Kansas City, Kan.) had 13 points and 14 rebounds, but her outstanding effort was not enough as the Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball team fell to Mid-America Christian 74-72 in the Rib Crib Kansas Wesleyan Coyote Classic on Saturday at Mabee Arena.
“Mid America Christian is a really great team and I thought we battled hard,” Wesleyan head coach Ryan Showman said. “But all-in-all we had a lot of really good things happen today and saw a lot of things we can get cleaned up before Wednesday (at Tabor).”
The 14 rebounds is a new career high for Lewis, who helped the Coyotes to a 48-36 advantage on the boards against a MACU squad that had been outrebounding opponents by 9.2 rebounds per game, and outscoring opponents by 22.2 points per contest.
“Virja had a big time game,” Showman said. “She owned the boards, she finished down low. She played well and gave us every chance to win the game with her play.”
Wesleyan (10-5) overcame a 16-12 deficit in the first quarter, finishing the period on an 11-2 run to take a 23-18 lead. The lead expanded to as many as 11 points with 6:35 left in the second quarter on a bucket by Gabbie Miller (SR/Kiefer, Okla.) that made it 33-22.
The Evangels pushed back, getting within three at 35-32 with 3:40 left. Janai Mitchell (SR/Salina, Kan.)’s free throw with 2:29 left pushed the lead back out to seven, but MACU scored the last nine points of the first half to take a 43-41 lead at the break.
“We just kind of lost our wits there at the end of the second quarter, and at the end of the game and those were really the only big runs they were able to put on us,” Showman said. “Unfortunately they came at absolutely the worst time. We maybe were just a little tired at those moments, but those are the times you have to focus in the most and we just didn’t have that focus tonight.”
Wesleyan took a 46-45 on Kayla Kivinski (SR/Port Richey, Fla.)’s bucket and free throw with 7:24 left in the third, but the Evangels would score the next six to take a 51-46 lead with 5:31 to go. Back came the Coyotes again, getting four straight from Lewis to get within a point at 51-50 with 4:56 left in the third.
The shot of the night came at the end of the third quarter. The Coyotes trailed by two 58-56 with 12 second left before Kivinski buried an off-balance, fade-away triple in the left corner to give KWU a 59-58 lead after three quarters.
Amanda Hill (SO/Rossville, Kan.) gave the Coyotes a 69-66 lead with 5:10 left in the game and buried a huge 3-pointer with 2:35 left putting Wesleyan up 72-68.
MACU would tie things up with 2:10 left and take the lead with 1:56 left on a free throw by Shaylan Coleman. Another free throw by Coleman with 17.4 seconds left put the Evangels up 74-72.
After a Wesleyan timeout, the Coyotes inbounded and got a look at a 3 by Haleigh Bradford (JR/Schertz, Texas) that was short, and the Coyotes would grab the rebound, but could not find another chance at a game-tying or winning shot.
“I just thought at the end MACU made a few more plays,” Showman said. “The ball didn’t really bounce our way the way it had been the last couple weeks and a good team like MACU is going to capitalize on that.”
Kivinski led the Coyotes with 16 points, while Bradford added 14 as KWU was 26-of-68 from the field (38.2 percent) but shot just 28.6 percent (10-of-35) in the second half. Hill added seven rebounds to help the Coyotes to the advantage on the boards.
Alexis Shannon led MACU (8-2) with 19 points and 11 rebounds.