Kansas Wesleyan trailed the Benedictine Ravens 55-52 with 10:49 left in Saturday’s game between the teams at Mabee Arena. A 13-0 run by the Coyotes gave KWU a 65-55 lead and Wesleyan was able to hold on for a 75-71 win to close out the KWU Men’s Basketball Classic.
The victory evened KWU’s record at 2-2 overall heading into Wednesday’s schedule Kansas Conference opener at Southwestern.
The decisive run came just at the right moment for the Coyotes, who had been trading the lead with the Ravens the first part of the second half. Neither team had led by more than three points in the half up to that point.
Gabe Mack (JR/Milwaukee, Wis.) scored for the Coyotes with 8:32 to go to draw KWU within a point, but then a bucket from Easton Hunter (FR/Colwich, Kan.) put Wesleyan up 56-55 as the Coyotes built the 10-point margin with the final bucket of the run coming on Hunter’s steal and layup with 6:10 left.
Benedictine made one final push back at the Coyotes, getting within three at 65-62 with 4:23 to go and within two twice, the last with two minutes left when it was 69-67 Coyotes.
Free throws by AJ Range (SR/Junction City, Kan.) with 1:01 to go put the Coyotes up 71-67, and Mack’s free throws with 23 seconds left sealed the win for the Coyotes putting KWU up six at 73-67.
Range had another monster game for the Coyotes with his fourth straight double-double to start the season with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Hunter added 10 as did Mack, both off the bench.
The Coyotes scored the first six points of the game, but Benedictine was able to tie things up at 10 with 15:30 left in the first half. Five straight from the Coyotes made it 15-10 on Daekwon Gross (SR/Kansas City, Mo.)’ bucket with 13:58 left in the half.
Wesleyan led 19-13 after free throws by Trey Duffey (SO/Topeka, Kan.), but a 9-0 Benedictine run gave the Ravens a 22-19 lead with 9:35 left in the first.
Trailing 24-21, the Coyotes scored seven straight to take a 28-24 lead on bucket by CJ Weathers (JR/Allen, Texas) with 6:21 to go. The Coyotes extended the lead to 38-32 with two minutes to go before the half on Mack’s 3 pointer, which were the final points of the first.
The Coyotes were 28-of-59 shooting for 47.5 percent in the game, and 13-of-16 at the free throw line for 81.3 percent. KWU had a 35-31 advantage in rebounding.
Wesleyan heads to Winfield on Wednesday to open Kansas Conference play at 8 p.m. at Southwestern.