The 21st-ranked ranked Coyotes play Kansas Conference foes Southwestern and McPherson this week – the Southwestern game a marquee matchup between two surging and NAIA nationally ranked teams.
Wednesday: Southwestern at Kansas Wesleyan, 8 p.m., Mabee Arena
Saturday: Kansas Wesleyan at McPherson, 7 p.m., Sport Center, McPherson
The games will be available online through the Coyote Sports Network at www.kcacnetwork.com/
Kansas Wesleyan 15-1 overall, 9-1 KCAC
Southwestern 15-1, 9-1
McPherson 9-7, 4-6 (at Friends on Wednesday)
KWU has won two in a row against Southwestern and the schools have split the last six contests. Last season the Coyotes won 86-67 November 29 in Winfield and 81-69 January 24 inside Mabee Arena. The victories ended the Moundbuilders’ three-game winning streak. Southwestern leads the series 20-16 since January, 2006.
The Coyotes swept McPherson last season, have won three of the last four but they’ve split the last 10 games. KWU has an 11-8 edge since January, 2006. Wesleyan won 89-77 November 20 inside Mabee Arena and 93-67 January 15 in McPherson last season.
KANSAS WESLEYAN AT A GLANCE
The Coyotes notched two narrow KCAC road victories last week defeating Tabor 74-71 in Hillsboro on Wednesday and rallying past York 80-78 Saturday in York, Neb. for their seventh consecutive victory. KWU trailed York 57-43 with 12½ minutes left in the game before storming back.
Alex Littlejohn (SO/Newton, Kan.) scored the last nine points against York as the Coyotes rallied from 14 points down with 13 minutes left. He finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season and is averaging 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds. Easton Hunter (JR/Colwich, Kan.) had 16 points, Tyus Jeffries (SR/Oklahoma City, Okla.) 15 and Cory Kaplan (JR/Merritt Island, Fla.) 14 against York. Littlejohn had 22 points and eight rebounds and Jun Murdock (JR/Wichita, Kan.) 16 points and six rebounds in the victory over Tabor.
Littlejohn was named the KCAC’s Offensive Player of the Week on Tuesday. He averaged 23.5 points and 10 rebounds for the week. It’s the second time this season he’s been named the Offensive Player of the Week.
Murdock, KWU’s All-American point guard, surpassed the 1,000-point plateau in the victory over Tabor. He played one season at Friends and is in his second season at Wesleyan.
SOUTHWESTERN AT A GLANCE
The Moundbuilders have won 10 in a row since losing to KCAC leader Oklahoma Wesleyan 77-63 November 16 in Bartlesville, Okla. Last week they defeated Bethel 90-79 Wednesday and Friends 85-71 Saturday, both games in Winfield.
Junior guard Cevin Clark leads the team in scoring (21.2) and ranks 12th in the NAIA with 49 made 3-pointers. He scored a season-best 34 against Bethel. Senior guard Deng Bol averages 15.1 points and junior guard Jarvis Jennings and senior swingman Cooper Pierce each 11.7 points. Junior forward Andrew O’Brien averages a team-best 10.1 rebounds.
Southwestern averages just under 85 points, allows 68 and shoots 47.6 percent from the field, 37 percent from the 3-point line. The Moundbuilders are outrebounding their opponents by 9.5 per game.
McPHERSON AT A GLANCE
The Bulldogs have lost three of four and five of seven entering their game Wednesday at Friends on Wednesday. They’re coming off a 92-78 homecourt loss to Bethel on Saturday but defeated county rival Bethany 71-68 last Wednesday in McPherson. They won their first six games of the season that included victories over Clarke and Benedictine.
Three Bulldogs have double figure scoring averages led by sophomore guard Antonio Watson (13.0). He had 19 in the victory over Bethany. Following Watson is sophomore guard Owen Braxmeyer (12.8) and senior guard Yaniel Vidal (11.6). Braxmeyer averages a team-best 7.1 rebounds.
McPherson averages 78 points and allows 75. The Bulldogs are shooting 39 percent as a team, 35 from long range. They’re 5-3 in games played in the Sport Center this season.