McPherson, Kan. – The Bulldogs proved to be the more tenacious team on Saturday night as they took down the University of Saint Mary, who are receiving votes nationally. The 77-74 victory gives the McPherson seniors one final win at home. The ‘Dogs close out the regular season at 10-20 overall and 5-12 in the KCAC which is good for the eighth seed in the upcoming tournament.
“This was a great win for our team,” said Coach Swartzendruber. “I am so proud we won on senior day and also on Pat Noyes Scholarship Day. We had some great effort off the bench, and our defense was as good as it has been all year. This should give us some confidence going into the KCAC tourney.”
The Spires jumped out early and held a slim lead throughout the first half of the opening period. A 10-0 run by the ‘Dogs put them in front six with just over seven minutes to play. USM battled back and took a 34-29 lead into the locker room. MC shot in 10-of-29 field goals and 6-of-7 foul shots; nine of the 10 players to see the court scored for the Bulldogs. Saint Mary converted on 12-of-36 from the floor with just 1-of-8 threes dropping; they went 90% from the free throw stripe, 9-of-10.
McPherson took the lead early in the second half and after giving it back for a few possessions around the 12-minute mark, regained the momentum and jumped back on top. The Bulldogs played a very patient yet aggressive style of play in the final 10 minutes and held off a late push by the Spires for the 77-74 triumph. Mac netted an impressive 17-of-30 from the field with most of their buckets coming inside the paint; they went 3-of-5 from deep and 11-of-17 from the charity stripe. Saint Mary connected on 16-of-44 with 4-of-10 threes finding their way through; the NAIA’s leading scorer Grant Greenberg was held to just 14 points, less than half of his average, on 6-of-19 shooting.
The ‘Dogs cashed in on 45.8% of their field goals for the game, 27-of-59; they were 6-of-15 from range and 17-of-24 from the line. The team pulled in 45 rebounds and also logged 19 assists, 15 turnovers, six blocks, and five steals. Over half of their total came in the paint, 43, and Mac had 33 points come from bench players in the team-win.
Darius Hill led the Bulldogs in scoring with his 17 points on 7-of-18 field goals and 3-of-7 free throws; he also gobbled up 10 defensive boards for his 14th KCAC double-double in 16 games. Louis Parker III went a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the stipe for his 13 points; he recorded seven rebounds and also had a block and an assist. TJ Grant netted 3-of-6 threes and 3-of-4 free throws for his 12 points; he had six assists and four rebounds. Grant is now just seven assists away from the McPherson College record for most assists in a season. Both Derek Bevan and DeAndre Henson scored eight for MC.
As the No. 8 seed in the upcoming KCAC Postseason Tournament, McPherson will travel to No. 1 Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas this Wednesday, February 25; tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Click here for the complete KCAC bracket.
McPherson College is a Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference member school and a part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics