OTTAWA – A fast start for the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes wasn’t quite enough.
Despite racing out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, and leading 17-6 at one point, the Coyotes would fall to the Ottawa Braves 88-82 on Saturday night at Wilson Field House, in KWU’s first road trip of 2021.
AJ Range (SR/Junction City, Kan.) had another monster game inside Wilson Field House, where last season he scored 21 points and recorded a career high 18 rebounds, scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Saturday’s game. It was also his KCAC-leading eighth double-double of the season.
Wesleyan scored the first eight points of the game, and held Ottawa off the board until the 15:55 mark of the first half. The Coyotes extended their lead to 15-4 on a 3 by Jackson Maupin (FR/Argyle, Texas) with 13:35 left in the half forcing an Ottawa timeout.
Ottawa got back into it, using an 8-0 run of its own to cut the different to three points at 17-14 with 10:18 to go in the half. The Braves got it within a point at 19-18, but the Coyotes scored the next six, capped by Easton Hunter (FR/Colwich, Kan.)’s triple to make it 25-18 with 7:15 to go.
Wesleyan led by eight again at 33-25 with 4:56 left, but the Braves got things going again, closing the half on a 16-4 run to take a 41-37 lead at the half.
The Coyotes fell behind by six to start the second, but battled back, retaking the lead at 46-45 on a 3 by CJ Weathers (JR/Allen, Texas) with 17:10 left.
The lead switched hands several times over the next four minutes until Ottawa took the lead for good at 60-59 with 12:24 to go. The Braves extended the lead to 62-59 before a 3-point play by Trey Duffey (SO/Topeka, Kan.) tied things at 62-all with 10:46 left.
Ottawa would push its lead out to five at 71-66 and led 77-72 with 6:05 left when another Hunter triple got the Coyotes within two at 77-75 with 3:47 left. The Coyotes got no closer than three points the rest of the way after falling behind by as many as seven.
Tyus Jeffries (JR/Oklahoma City, Okla.) added 11 points and Gabe Mack (JR/Milwaukee, Wis.) had 10 for the Coyotes who shot 57.1 percent for the game, including a blistering 69.2 percent in the second half.
Jaquan Daniels had 34 points to lead Ottawa.
Wesleyan returns to action on Wednesday, hosting the Sterling Warriors at 8 p.m. inside Mabee Arena.