WICHITA – Ryan Showman had no trouble pinpointing the primary culprit in Kansas Wesleyan’s 59-53 Kansas Conference loss to Friends Saturday night in the Garvey Center.
“Offensively we just absolutely couldn’t get a bucket to fall when we needed one,” he said on his postgame radio show.
The postgame numbers backed him up. The Coyotes shot 34 percent overall (22 of 65) that included 3 of 15 from 3-point range. The game’s final minute was a microcosm of that.
Tylieea Wallace (FR/Overland Park, Kan.)’s free throw with 58 seconds left got KWU within 55-54 and was the last point of a 12-3 run. After a Friends’ shot clock violation, the Coyotes had a chance to take the lead but missed a shot with 30 seconds left.
The Falcons then made two free throws for a 57-54 lead with 10.6 seconds remaining. A potential game-tying 3-pointer also missed and preceded two more Friends’ free throws for the game’s final points.
Wesleyan (19-10, 15-9 KCAC) is the fifth seed and plays York at 7 p.m. Monday inside Mabee Arena in the first round of the conference tournament. The Coyotes swept the Panthers during the regular season.
Offense didn’t come easily for Friends either which shot 34 percent (21 of 61) and was 5 of 14 from beyond the arc. LaShawn Sweet led the Falcons (21-9, 16-8 KCAC) with 15 points off the bench while Taylor Jackson had 13 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
“I loved everything about our defense,” Showman said. “We locked down their scorers, we held them to 34 percent from the field – I thought the second half we did everything defensively for us to win. We gave ourselves a chance, I thought we had a really look at a 3 but that’s just basketball.”
Friends made four 3-pointers in the first quarter and led 19-12 entering the second quarter. KWU got within 31-26 late in the second quarter but trailed 33-26 at the break. Bridget Busbee’s 3-pointer just before the horn gave Friends a 45-38 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) led KWU with 19 points and had six rebounds. Wallace finished with a career-best 16 points and had five rebounds while Kelcey Hinz (SR/Whitewater, Kan.) had 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Showman was already looking ahead to the tournament shortly after the game.
“The biggest thing is to not let tonight linger,” he said. “It stinks to lose, it’s not a good feeling knowing that we had chances and let some opportunities fall by the wayside. But it’s important for us to be able to turn the page and important for us to get focused (Sunday) and be ready to go on Monday.
“You better come ready to play. There’s no choice because the next time we have this feeling our season’s over and we want to prolong this as long as we can and the journey starts on Monday.”