No. 12 Coyotes hit century mark in 104-86 rout of York, secure KCAC No. 2 seed

Alex Littlejohn (SO/Newton, Kan.) wasn’t sure how to respond when asked if Saturday night’s offensive effort was Kansas Wesleyan’s best this season.


“Maybe,” he said with a smile. “It’s a lot of points.”


Littlejohn led six Coyotes in double figures with 16 points as KWU rolled over York 104-86 in the regular-season finale on Senior Night inside Mabee Arena.


12th-ranked Wesleyan is the No. 2 seed in the Kansas Conference’s postseason tournament and plays seventh-seeded Sterling in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m.

Wednesday in Mabee Arena. The Coyotes are 25-3 and finished the regular season 19-3 in the KCAC, one game behind conference winner and No. 8 Oklahoma Wesleyan (20-2).


KWU shot 54 percent (41 of 73) including 8 of 18 beyond the 3-point arc and had 24 assists against York.


“We were moving the ball, we were getting in it into the post and the post would score or they would kick it back out if (the defense) came at them,” Littlejohn said. “That’s how you get open shots, I think we were just being unselfish.”


Littlejohn was 7 of 9 from the field, grabbed 13 rebounds and had eight assists, two assists shy of a triple-double and settled for his 16th double-double of the season. Trey Duffey (JR/Topeka, Kan.) celebrated Senior Night in a big way with 14 points and nine rebounds and Cory Kaplan (JR/Merritt Island, Fla.) scored 14 and had three steals. Easton Hunter (JR/Colwich, Kan.), Jun Murdock (JR/Wichita, Kan.) and Izaiah Hale (SO/Wichita, Kan.) finished with 11 points each.


Duffey and Aaron King (SR/Yates Center, Kan.), the team’s two seniors, were recognized during a pregame ceremony.


The Coyotes entered the game averaging 76.7 points, their previous best this season 97 points against Manhattan Christian on November 5. They scored 95 against Friends on January 23.


“We shot it really well tonight, we moved it really well,” KWU coach Anthony Monson said. “I thought when we were getting our stops (on defense) we were pretty impressive on the offensive end and when we didn’t get stops, we were pretty badly offensively so it’s the whole defense going to offense for us.”


Wesleyan shot 54 percent (21 of 39) the first half and led 55-39 at intermission. Leading 24-23 with 11 minutes left the Coyotes took control with a 25-8 run that gave them a 49-31 lead with 3:18 remaining.


The advantage grew to 24 points (85-61) with 8:24 left but York (8-19, 7-15 KCAC) made things interesting with a 16-2 surge that trimmed the lead to 87-77 with 4:18 remaining.


The Coyotes responded with a decisive 10-0 burst that gave them a 97-77 lead with just 2:23 left.


“Making shots makes things look really easy but at the same time we got really good shots,” Monson said. “I thought we cut well, I thought we moved without the ball well. This team’s deep, it’s dangerous, we’ve got a ton of talent.”


York shot 48 percent (34 of 71) and was led by Brent Clark’s 25 points.


Littlejohn wasn’t thrilled with his team’s work on the defensive end.


“I don’t think we played that great on defense but we got a win so …,” he said.


Monson agreed.


“I don’t think we guarded very well and I think we let our foot off the gas (during their run),” he said. “We weren’t scoring on the other end and then we weren’t getting back and they were getting runouts and leaking guys out for transition buckets.


“When we’re getting scored on it’s a hundred percent because we’re not focused. That’s a definite, there’s nothing more, nothing less.”


Sterling (14-14, 10-12) lost to Oklahoma Wesleyan 82-73 Saturday in Bartlesville, Okla. and had dropped three in a row and six of seven. The Coyotes defeated the Warriors twice this season – 81-54 December 13 in Salina and 87-69 February 11 in Sterling.


Semifinals are scheduled for 2 p.m. next Saturday at the site of the higher seeded teams. The championship game will be played at 6 p.m. February 27 in Hartman Arena in Park City – the winner advancing to the NAIA National Championship.


“Postseason basketball it doesn’t matter, everybody can beat everybody,” Littlejohn said. “We’ve got to play better defense and keep moving the ball and hopefully we’ll do well.”