Kansas Wesleyan women's and men's basketball sweeps McPherson: 4 takeaways from the doubleheader

·6 min read
Kansas Wesleyan's Amanda Hill (34) puts a shot over McPherson's Ja'Kia Wells (1) during Saturday's game at the Sports Center in McPherson.
Kansas Wesleyan's Amanda Hill (34) puts a shot over McPherson's Ja'Kia Wells (1) during Saturday's game at the Sports Center in McPherson.

MCPHERSON — A double-overtime thriller and a lopsided victory made up Kansas Wesleyan's doubleheader against McPherson on Saturday.

The Coyote women needed 10 extra minutes to defeat the Bulldogs, 95-84, while the Coyote men defeated McPherson, 93-67 at the Sports Center.

The Wesleyan women improved to 13-6, 9-5 in the Kansas Conference while McPherson fell to 10-10, 7-7 The KWU men improved 14-5, 9-5 in league while the Bulldogs fell to 12-8, 7-7.

Kelcey Hinz led the Coyote women with 22 points and 16 rebounds while Amanda Hill had 21. Brittany Roberts had 21 points and 16 rebounds for McPherson.

Jun Murdock led the Coyote men with 18 points while AJ Range added 17 and nine rebounds. Ja'Quan Chestnut and Christian Aguillard each had 15 to lead the Bulldogs.

Here are four takeaways from Saturday's doubleheader.

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Ryan Showman likes how the Kansas Wesleyan women's mindset is at the moment

One word that comes to Ryan Showman's mind when he talks about his team, resilient. With a veteran-laden group that has been through the gauntlet of the KCAC, they know what it takes with their seniors and juniors being on the team that won the league championship in 2020.

"They refuse to lose," Showman said. "To have a team with that kind of mindset heading into mid to late January, that's dangerous. It was just a matter of execution down the stretch. I thought we did a really great job (in) late-game situations, the girls executed tremendously and gave us a chance.

"At the end of the day, late-game scenarios, that's all you want. You can have all the greatest X and O play in the world, but players have got to make plays. I look at our five that was on the floor, they got it done."

Hill said they just need to not give up because anything can happen. The Coyotes trailed 79-72 with 1:28 left in the first overtime period and forced an extra session with an 8-1 run to knot things at 80.

Hill added they know there's a lot of pressure on the line.

"We just have to relax and know that we're here for a reason," Hill said. "We're in this situation for a reason. I just think we need to just believe in ourselves."

The Coyotes trailed early by seven points before leading by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter before seeing that evaporate. KWU managed to get the lead back to 11 in the waning seconds of the second overtime period.

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Kansas Wesleyan women found a way to win on the road

Road games have not been kind to the Coyotes this season.

Entering Saturday's game, they were just 3-5 on the road with wins coming at York, Central Christian and Southwestern. With McPherson being a game behind KWU in the KCAC standings, it was a pivotal one for both teams to stay within striking distance of second place. The Coyotes are two games back of second and a game back of third place.

"It's always tough when we play here," Showman said. "They're a good basketball team and this is a really good road win for us."

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Hill said the Coyotes weren't happy with how they played in the first half of the conference season. The Coyotes lost tough road games at Avila, Tabor, Bethel and Oklahoma Wesleyan. Now that they're 2-0 in the second half of the league schedule, they want to be a better team on the road.

"I think our biggest thing was like, 'Don't give up. We need to play hard for the full 40 minutes or longer,'" Hill said.

Kansas Wesleyan's Jun Murdock (12) goes up for a shot during Saturday's game against McPherson at the Sports Center.
Kansas Wesleyan's Jun Murdock (12) goes up for a shot during Saturday's game against McPherson at the Sports Center.

Jun Murdock back to where he wants to be after hamstring injury

Murdock missed Monday's game against Friends due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the Coyotes' loss to Bethel on Jan. 8.

After rehabbing his hamstring three times a day, he returned to the court against York on Thursday. He wanted to make sure that he was ready to go and not suffer any serious injury.

Previously: Kansas Wesleyan women's and men's basketball sweep York: 4 takeaways from the doubleheader

"They were making sure we're all good," Murdock said. "I was still doing practice some (of) the time. It was good."

Besides scoring 18 points, Murdock led the Coyotes with five of their 19 assists. The Coyotes went inside early and often and outscored the Bulldogs in the paint, 63-28.

Murdock scored the final eight points of the first half giving KWU a 46-28 advantage at halftime.

"He understands and gets our guys the ball where they need it," KWU assistant coach Jordan Murdock said. "He's a floor general. He came to me and was just like, 'We've got to feed them.' That's what we ended up doing."

Jordan Murdock filled in for Anthony Monson for second consecutive game

With just one day of preparation and without head coach Anthony Monson unavailable due to illness, the Coyotes had to continue their momentum from their win over York on Thursday night.

Coach Murdock challenged the Coyotes and they did by holding the Bulldogs to 67 points.

"The second one feels great," Coach Murdock said. "I wanted us to get back to playing good Kansas Wesleyan brand of basketball. The way Coach (Monson) has built this program, it's built on stops on the defensive end."

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What's next for Kansas Wesleyan

The Coyotes will get a normal week next week with a pair of doubleheaders. The first will take place on Wednesday night at Mabee Arena against Oklahoma Wesleyan.

The Eagles swept the Coyotes back on Nov. 23 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma with the OKWU women taking a 69-60 victory while the OKWU men won 86-69.

The women's game is set for 6 p.m. with the men to follow at 8.

Dylan Sherwood has been a sports reporter for the Salina Journal since August 2019. He can be reached at dsherwood@salina.com or on Twitter @DSherwoodSJ

This article originally appeared on Salina Journal: 4 takeaways from Kansas Wesleyan basketball teams' sweep of McPherson

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