Ottawa’s Wilson Field House is known as one of the tougher places to play in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The home court magic couldn’t stop Kansas Wesleyan from turning in a complete team performance.
Junior James Brooks led four players in double-figures, the defense limited Ottawa to 35 percent in the second half, and the Coyotes picked up their third consecutive win, nipping the Braves 81-75.
The first half featured 13 lead changes as neither team could build a cushion larger than six points. Kansas Wesleyan (6-4, 4-3 KCAC) was up by six with 2:54 to go, charged by junior Jordan McNelly, who had 10 of his 17 points in the first half. Ottawa (7-6, 4-3) quickly changed the tune, ending the half on an 8-0 run, giving the Braves a 37-35 advantage at the half.
In half number two, four ties took place with the last arriving at the 14:39 mark in the second half, both settling at 44-44. Wesleyan outscored Ottawa 24-12, keyed by four straight threes, placing the Coyotes ahead 68-56 with 6:37 remaining. The Braves battled back to within three, but Brooks connected on his third triple to seal the deal.
Brooks finished with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He added six assists and four rebounds. McNelly was held without a bucket in the second half, but went 7-of-10 at the free throw line. The former Salina Central Mustang added eight rebounds.
Sophomore Darius Hammond provided 13 points from the bench, including 10 in the second half. Sophomore Brayden White, the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, poured in 10 points, connecting on three treys.
Ryan Haskins paced the Braves with 19 points, but held to 2-of-10 from deep. Isaiah Palmer recorded his fifth double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Kansas Wesleyan 78, Ottawa 74
For the third consecutive time, KWU defeated Ottawa by four, only this time, Kansas Wesleyan shot better than 25 percent, which is what happened last year inside Wilson Field House.
Ottawa (2-9, 2-5) stunned KWU early, building a 24-14 lead. The Coyotes roared back, using a 23-6 spurt to grab a 37-30 advantage with 2:10 left in the half. KWU fell silent, though, barely hanging on to a 37-36 lead.
Both squads traded blows all the way into the fourth quarter before Kansas Wesleyan (8-4, 6-1) grabbed the upper hand for good. Sophomore Amanda Hill connected on a three from the left corner, sparking a 9-0 explosion, putting the Coyotes ahead 74-66.
Ottawa trimmed the deficit to 77-74 and forced a Kansas Wesleyan turnover with under 20 seconds to go. Wesleyan senior Sydney Mortensen ended the contest ripping the ball away up top for her second steal and junior Haleigh Bradford cashed in at the foul line.
Bradford ended up with 12 points and three rebounds. Senior Kayla Kivinski paced the Coyotes with 15 points and five rebounds. Hill was the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, putting up 11 points.
Ottawa’s Jenna Kramer led with 21 points while Liz Vaughn chipped in 18.
Kansas Wesleyan takes its five-game win streak to Wichita Wednesday. The Coyotes face the Friends Falcons. Pregame starts at 5:45 on FM 104.9, ksal.com and the Rocking M Media app.