Men’s Basketball picks up win over McPherson 76-69

McPHERSON – A superb defensive effort in the second half helped the Kansas Wesleyan Men’s Basketball team pull away from the McPherson Bulldogs for a 76-69 win on Wednesday night at the Sport Center.The Coyotes trailed 40-38 at the half after McPherson shot 51.6 percent from the field in the opening stanza, but Wesleyan’s defense cranked up the pressure in the second half, holding the Bulldogs to 31.3 percent shooting, and just 1 of 12 from 3-point range.Wesleyan trailed by seven points with 17:27 left in the game at 46-39, when the Coyotes started their comeback. Jun Murdock’s bucket with 14:40 left erased the deficit and gave Wesleyan a 51-50 lead, part of a 21-6 run by the Coyotes that made it 60-52 with 11:47 left after a bucket by Thurbil Bile.A triple by Izaiah Hale pushed the lead out to nine with 10:01 left.McPherson made it interesting down the stretch, getting within three at 66-63 with 5:47 left, but free throws by Caden Hale put Wesleyan back up by five at 68-63.It was 68-65 with 2:41 to go when Izaiah Hale knocked down a 3, and Murdock converted a pair of free throws to push the lead out to eight at 73-65.The Coyotes fell behind out of the gates as McPherson sped out to a 12-4 lead to open the game, but after a timeout, KWU scored 10 straight to take a 14-12 lead on Alex Littlejohn’s bucket with 12:56 left in the first.Wesleyan pushed the lead out to 24-18 with 10:43 left in the half, and led 32-25 with 7:19 left when an 8-2 McPherson run cut the difference to one at 34-33 with 3:23 left before the half. McPherson tied it at 36 and again at 38 before taking a 40-38 lead into the half.Murdock scored 20 to lead the Coyotes while Izaiah Hale scored 16 and Caden Hale had 15 for the Coyotes. Alex Littlejohn had another double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. KWU was 27 of 62 shooting for the game for 43.5 percent.McPherson shot 41.3 percent for the game, and was held to 10 of 32 shooting in the second half.Up next for the Coyotes is a meeting with the Swedes at 7 p.m. inside Mabee Arena.