Men’s Basketball holds off Ottawa 89-83

Coming off Saturday’s big win over No. 9 Southwestern in overtime, the Kansas Wesleyan men’s basketball team had to make a quick turnaround to face a tough Ottawa University squad on Monday night at Mabee Arena.The Coyotes got the job done, using a few big runs and then held on for a 89-83 win over the Braves.“To come off a big win on Saturday and have to turn around quickly, I thought we were really good for stretches tonight and others we got careless and sloppy with things, and that was tough,” Wesleyan head coach Anthony Monson said.Wesleyan fell behind early as Ottawa pushed out to a 14-6 lead in the first five minutes of the game.“Ottawa’s explosive offensively, they can really score it,” Monson said.The Coyotes battled back getting within a point on a 3-pointer by Grant Dye and then took the lead 20-19 with 10:47 left in the first on a steal by Caden Hale and outlet to Jun Murdock for the lay-up.Ottawa came back to tie it 22-all, but the Coyotes got four straight points from Alex Littlejohn to lead 26-22 with 8:01 to go.The Coyotes extended the lead to 10 points for the first time with 6:25 to go on a bucket by Caden Hale.The Coyotes took a 13 point into intermission at 44-31 when the ball was tipped into the Coyote basket by Jayden Hibbitt for the ultra-rare basketball own goal just before the half.“I thought we were a little tired and a little off, but at the end of the day we made enough plays to win the game and that’s all that matters,” Monson said.Ottawa made a run at the Coyotes to open the second half, making it a 2-point game at 46-44 with 16:51 to go, but the Coyotes scored the next six points to take a 52-44 lead with 15:33 left.The Braves again cut it to 2 before the Coyotes scored six straight again to take a 58-50 lead with 11:49 left on a free throw by Littlejohn.Wesleyan never surrendered the lead, but only led by 10 points one more time at 67-57 with 7:36 left.Ottawa cut it to three down the stretch, but the Coyotes made the plays needed to win the game, sealing the win with Murdock’s free throws with 14 seconds left.Littlejohn paced the Coyotes with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while Caden Hale had 15 as did Thurbil Bile and Murdock added 13. KWU score 31 of 64 from the field for 48.4 percent.Wesleyan has another quick turnaround, heading to Tabor on Wednesday before hosting York in Saturday’s regular season finale at 7 p.m. in Mabee Arena.