BARTLESVILLE, Okla. – Kansas Wesleyan battled Oklahoma Wesleyan to a draw the first 23½ minutes of their Kansas Conference game Saturday night.
The final 16½ minutes belonged to OKWU, though.
The Eagles, who received votes in the latest NAIA Division II poll, took control of the game with a 21-3 second-half run and never looked back in an 80-66 victory at the Mueller Sports Center.
The Coyotes’ third consecutive loss dropped them to 9-8 overall and 6-6 in the conference. OKWU improved to 14-4 and 9-3.
KWU trailed 31-28 at halftime, but drew even on Peyton Hatter (SO/Andover, Kan.)’s 3-point basket with 16:31 left. That’s when the Eagles took flight, scoring nine consecutive points. Zay Wilson (SR/Austin, Texas)’s three-point play for KWU momentarily stopped the bleeding, but OKWU answered with the next 12 points for a 57-39 lead with 10:34 remaining.
The Coyotes eventually trailed by as many as 25 points, 72-47, with 6:15 left.
The Coyotes took a 23-20 lead on Brendon Ganaway (SR/Houston, Texas)’s 3-pointer with 4:16 left in the first half, but OKWU closed the half on an 11-5 spurt – the final points coming on Kaleb Stokes’ 3-pointer 44 seconds before intermission.
OKWU, the defending conference champions, shot 60.6 percent from the field the second half (20 of 33), including 6 of 15 from 3-point range. The Eagles finished the game at 50.8 percent shooting (33 of 65) and were 11 of 30 from deep (36.7 percent). KWU’s three opponents during the losing streak have combined for 34 made 3-pointers.
OKWU also won the rebounding battle 39-26, including 11 offensive, and outscored the Coyotes 42-22 in the paint.
KWU shot 40.4 percent for the game (23 of 57) and was 9 of 26 from long range (34.6 percent).
Hatter was the lone Coyote in double figures, scoring 13 on 5 of 9 shooting, including 3 of 5 3-pointers. James Brooks (SR/Frontenac, Kan.) had nine points, and A.J. Range and Dylan Hahn (FR/Yukon, Okla.) seven each. Range also had a team-high six rebounds.
Lance Tipton led Oklahoma Wesleyan with 16 points and nine rebounds. He was 5 of 10 shooting, including 4 of 6 from deep. Janson Lietzke had 12 points and six rebounds, and Stokes 11 points and five assists.
The Coyotes have a week off before their next game – a 7 p.m. contest at Sterling next Saturday, when they begin the second half of conference play.