Just a few years ago, Kansas Wesleyan sophomore forward Jordan McNelly was a Salina Central Mustang. After a pit stop at Cloud County Community College, he wound up back home as a Coyote this year.
McNelly went home for plays like the one he made on Wednesday.
Salina’s own sealed off the opposite block, corralling a missed three by sophomore Zach Rammelt and banked in the ball as time expired to seal the 76-74 upset in overtime over No. 8 Southwestern at Mabee Arena.
Despite shooting just 30 percent from the floor in the opening half, Kansas Wesleyan only trailed 30-23 at the break. The offensive spark finally happened when the Coyotes were behind 40-34. Junior post Ithello Cross recorded a three-point play that ignited a 14-0 spurt to put KWU ahead 48-40 for its first lead of the tilt.
Southwestern didn’t go away, regaining the upperhand with 1:10 on the clock. Junior Brent Smith had an opportunity to give the Moundbuilders a one-point cushion with the shot clock turned off, but the big man went one-of-two at the foul line to leave the score at 68-all. Wesleyan had three cracks at the win in regulation, but couldn’t convert.
The Builders never led in overtime, but they knotted up the score at 74 apiece after a bucket by junior Cameron Hunt with 7.7 seconds to go in OT.
McNelly finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds to pace the Coyotes. Another former Mustang Rashun Allen chipped in 13 points. Freshman Brayden White had a career-high 11 points. Southwestern’s Hunt poured in 22 points on 9-of-24 shooting. Smith scored 17 points to go with 12 boards.
KWU (6-4, 4-2 KCAC) hits the road to Sterling on Saturday with the doubleheader coverage starting at 4:45 on FM 104.9.
KANSAS WESLEYAN 64, SOUTHWESTERN 60
The Coyote women are 5-0 at Mabee Arena after hanging on to a four-point win.
Kansas Wesleyan took control early with a 20-11 advantage after one quarter. The Coyotes went cold in the second stanza, missing their first 11 shots, losing the lead in the process. Following a 29-24 hold, Wesleyan closed out the first half on a 9-0 spurt, capped by a Haleigh Bradford three as time expired.
Southwestern had one final push in the fourth quarter when trailing by 10. The Moundbuilders cut the deficit to 61-58 after a 7-0 run, but the Coyotes held on the for victory.
Junior Maddie Miller recorded a giant double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Alexandra Berger surpassed her career-high with 10 points.
Wesleyan (7-5, 5-1) travels to Sterling for a huge showdown with the Warriors.