No. 21 ranked Coyotes open 2023 with road contests at Tabor and York

The No. 21-ranked Coyotes resume Kansas Conference play after the holidays with a pair of road games this week.



Wednesday: Kansas Wesleyan at Tabor in Hillsboro, 8 p.m.

Saturday: Kansas Wesleyan at York in York, Neb., 7 p.m.



The games will be available online through the Coyote Sports Network at Live Stats will be available at Radio coverage will be on FM-104.9 in the Salina area and around the world at Jackson Schneider will have the call with pregame starting at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday and 6:45 p.m. Saturday.



Kansas Wesleyan 13-1 overall, 7-1 KCAC

Tabor 6-8, 3-5

York 6-8, 4-4 (vs. Friends on Wednesday)



KWU has had its way with Tabor of late winning three in a row and eight of the last 10. The Coyotes won three times last season – 85-57 December 4 in Hillsboro, 71-59 January 29 in Mabee Arena and 102-59 February 22 in the first round of the KCAC Tournament in Mabee Arena. The Bluejays have a 19-17 advantage since January, 2006.

The Coyotes have won four in a row and five of seven against York but the Panthers are 12-6 against KWU since October, 2009. Last season Wesleyan won 70-63 November 17 in York and 89-86 January 13 in Mabee Arena.



The Coyotes won three non-conference games since their last KCAC contest. They defeated SAGU-American Indian 90-84 and Park Gilbert 72-60 during a trip to Arizona last month then downed Columbia 91-85 New Years Eve in Mabee Arena. They’ve won their last six games.

Four Coyotes scored in double figures in the victory over Columbia. Cory Kaplan (JR/Merritt Island, Fla.) and Jun Murdock (JR/Wichita, Kan.) led the way with 18 points apiece, Alex Littlejohn (SO/Newton, Kan.) had 17 and Trey Duffey (JR/Topeka, Kan.) 14 off the bench. Littlejohn also had seven rebounds and Duffey six. KWU was 12 of 26 from beyond the 3-point arc, Littlejohn making four and Murdock three.

Littlejohn averages a double-double, 13.4 points and 10.9 rebounds, and has nine double-doubles on the season. Murdock averages 11.6 points and 2.6 steals and four others average at least 6.2 points. Duffey also averages 7.0 rebounds along with 6.2 points.



The Bluejays enter the game on a three-game losing streak. They lost to Friends 83-72 December 13 in Wichita in their last game before the break. They also lost to Bethel (92-62) and Bethany (72-51).

Austin Hilton, a sophomore guard, is the top scorer (12.2) followed by Thatcher McClure (10.9), who also averages a team-best 5.6 rebounds. The Bluejays average 68.5 points and surrender 76.

Mark Warren is in his first season at Tabor. He was an assistant at Warner (Fla.) for five seasons before coming to Hillsboro to replace Micah Ratzlaff, who coached the Bluejays for 15 seasons.



Prior to their game Wednesday against Friends the Panthers had lost four of their last five games including a 94-64 loss to Bethel in North Newton on December 13 before the break. A 74-65 victory over Bethany on December 10 in York preceded the loss to Bethel.

Scoring hasn’t been a problem as the Panthers average nearly 81 points per game. They’re shooting 46 percent overall, 32 percent from long range. Opponents, though, are also averaging 81 points and shooting nearly 44 percent.

Three Panthers have double figure scoring averages – senior guards Brent Clark (16.3), Erik Talton (14.8) and Isaiah King (10.3). Clark’s also the leading rebounder (5.5).