Men’s Basketball overcomes slow start, stops Braves 77-67

OTTAWA, Kan. – Kansas Wesleyan Men’s Basketball overcame a slow start and pulled away down the stretch for a 77-67 win over the Ottawa Braves on Wednesday night at Wilson Field House.Wesleyan’s defense stepped up and held the Braves 17 points below their season scoring average in the contest and limited the Braves to 37.7 percent shooting in the game.The Coyotes saw themselves trailing 9-0 to start the game, and were down 11-2 when Easton Hunter buried a 3-pointer and got the Coyotes going as KWU cut the difference to three points at 14-11 with 13:02 left in the half.Ottawa went up six at 23-17 with 9:30 in the half, when Wesleyan exploded for an 8-0 run that gave the Coyotes their first lead of the night at 25-23 with 5:53 left on a bucket by Thurbil Bile.The Braves regained a 27-25 lead with 3:17 to go, but a 3 by Hunter put the Coyotes back on top and the teams traded the lead the rest of the half as the Coyotes took a 32-31 lead into the break.Ottawa scored the first four points of the half, but the Coyotes bounced back with a 14-0 run that put Wesleyan up 46-35 with 15:57 left in the game on a 3-point play by Alex Littlejohn.The Coyotes went up by 11 several times before Ottawa cut it to five, the last time at 68-63 with 2:10 left. A 3 by Littlejohn put the Coyotes up eight and KWU would hold on for the win.Wesleyan had five players in double figures led by 15 each from Jun Murdock and Littlejohn.Murdock surpassed the 1000-plateau for his career at KWU on a 3-pointer with 13:37 left in the second half that put the Coyotes up 49-41. He passed the 1000-point mark for his full collegiate career last season.The Coyotes shot 38.5 percent from the field, going 15 of 39 in both halves. Bile led the Coyotes with 14 rebounds while Littlejohn had 13.Wesleyan returns to action on Saturday, hosting Saint Mary. The Spires were toppled by Friends 71-57 on Wednesday.