ABOVE: Brent Smith, junior center, prepares for a free-throw shot during Wednesday’s game against Kansas Wesleyan University (Cale Eirich/Staff photographer).
By Brian Kiprotich
The number-six-ranked Southwestern College men’s basketball team experienced a back-to-back loss Wednesday night. The Moundbuilders fell to the Coyotes of Kansas Wesleyan University, 75-73, inside Stewart Field House.
Cameron Hunt, junior guard, had a game-high 28 points with five rebounds and four assists. He was the only Moundbuilder to score double figures. DJ Wallace, senior forward, ended the game as the Builders next top scorer with nine.
Raul Neri led Kansas Wesleyan (13-10, 11-6 KCAC) with 23 points and seven rebounds. Terell Gandy Added 15 points.
Southwestern (21-4, 14-3 KCAC) shot 46.4 percent (26-56) from the floor, and 27.3 percent (6-22) from three-point range. The Moundbuilders were able to convert 65.2 percent (15-23) of their free throws, and out-rebounded the Coyotes, 40-31.
Wallace got the first bucket for Southwestern, which led to a 5-0 run. Hunt’s first basket came three minutes into the game as he pushed the lead to five, 2-7. After a Southwestern defensive stop, Hunt was able to knock down a three. The lead increased to eight after Lorenzo Marinez, junior center, made the shot assisted by Lajuan Hardy, freshman guard.
Kansas Wesleyan closed the lead down to four, and Andrew Hamm, sophomore guard, got his first three to put up Southwestern up seven. Southwestern was winning the defensive battle early, and this led to scoring on the opposite end. A big momentum boost was after Jacob Horsch, sophomore guard, scored three and pushed the lead to 12, 12-24, with 10:35 minutes left in the first.
The Coyotes tried to respond with a three of their own, but missed. Hunt then scored. Kansas Wesleyan went on a 10-2 run to close the gap of 20-32. The next couple of minutes went back and forth, as Southwestern kept fouling and putting the Coyotes on the free throw line. The half ended at 31 -39 which was to Southwestern’s advantage.
In the second half, Kansas Wesleyan came out ready to close the gap with a 14-7 run. That push brought them within one. Hunt made a three, but Kansas Wesleyan was able to get a basket on the other end to make it a two-point game. A Southwestern turnover led to a Coyote score, and this brought a tie of 51-51 and with 13:58 minutes left.
Kansas Wesleyan got their first lead of the game after a Zach Rammel three-pointer. KWU went on a 7- 0 run, and Southwestern was not able to get a basket. Cameron Hunt was able to stop the run, closing the lead to five, 61-56.
Both teams were unable to get stops, and the game went back and forth. Finally, a Kyrece Mills, junior guard, basket took the game within three for Southwestern. Brent Smith, junior center, was able to lay it in to bring the game within one with 1:56 minutes left. Neri got a two-pointer to drop, making it a three-point game.
After a missed shot, Hunt gained the offensive rebound and passed the ball to Mills, who made the two-point basket. Then, Terell Gandy of KWU got a two-point basket pushing the lead to three, 76-73. The Moundbuilders gained their second loss in a row against the Kansas Wesleyan University Coyotes, with a final score of 76-73.
After another heartbreaking loss, Southwestern is set up to play Oklahoma Wesleyan this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Stewart Field House.
Brian Kiprotich is majoring in business. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.