Kansas Wesleyan men’s basketball coach Anthony Monson put it bluntly during the postgame show.
“We lost the game in the first half.”
The NAIA’s leading scorer Jordan Murdock put up 39 points, the Falcons shot over 60 percent in the second half and Friends pulled away from the Coyotes for an 88-80 victory at the Garvey Center.
Wesleyan had plenty of energy to start as the Coyotes rushed out a 26-11 advantage with a shade under 10 minutes to go. That’s when the momentum completely switched.
Friends closed out the first half on a 14-4 spurt to only be behind 39-37 at the break. The Coyotes pushed the margin out to as many as seven, but the Falcons clawed back to knot up the score at 61-61 with 9:35 to play in the game.
The Falcons used another 14-4 run to grab a 10-point cushion and hung on for the win. Murdock also pulled down 13 rebounds for a double-double. Zion Fralin added 14 points.
Sophomore Jordan McNelly paced the Coyotes with 22 points. Senior Jamon Fulton tied a career-high with 21 points.
KWU (7-5, 5-3 KCAC) takes a rest before an exhibition contest at Fort Hays State on Saturday. Tipoff at 4 pm with pregame at 3:45 on FM 104.9.
FRIENDS 75, KANSAS WESLEYAN 56
The Falcons controlled the start of the first and second halves.
After a 9-9 tie with 2:48 to play in the first, Friends went on a 9-0 run to go up 18-9 after one quarter. The Falcons scored the first four points of the second quarter and went on to lead 36-23 at the break.
Friends outscored Kansas Wesleyan 20-10 in the third stanza and didn’t look back.
Betty Akathiotou led the charge for Friends with 25 points, six rebounds and seven steals.
Sophomore Courtney Heinen had a career-high 15 points with five triples. Junior Maddie Miller had 13 points and nine rebounds.
Wesleyan (7-7, 5-3) gets back in action for the Coyote Classic on the 29th and 30th.