- #7 Ottawa continued to hold on to first place in the KCAC following a perfect 2-0 week over Bethany and Saint Mary. One of the best teams at home in the conference, the Braves took care of the Swedes by 22 inside Wilson Field House before avenging an earlier-season loss against the Spires of Saint Mary. Senior guard Darryl Bowie erupted for a program-record 46 points on 15-22 shooting against the Swedes to complete the series sweep. On Saturday, the Braves basketball team held “Mike Doug Day” in which their student director of basketball operations, Michael Douglas, suited up and was in the starting lineup. Douglas even scored a basket in the contest. Ottawa currently holds a one-game lead in the KCAC for first place and will hit the road to visit (RV) Bethel on Wednesday before hosting Friends over the weekend.
- #16 Oklahoma Wesleyan is now in sole possession of second place in the KCAC at 12-4, one game behind Ottawa, following a 2-0 week that included a win at York and a home win versus Avila. The Eagles jumped out to an eight-point halftime lead en route to an 83-76 victory over the York Panthers, which can be a tough road trip due to the long nature of the trip. Four different Oklahoma Wesleyan players scored in double figures. Two days later, the Eagles took on another Eagles team in Avila, again using a huge first half to builder their lead. Freshman Kaleb Stokes led the team with 19 points as part of a group that saw five players reach double figures. OKWU will visit Sterling on Wednesday before hosting Southwestern on Saturday.
- McPherson saw their eight-game winning streak snapped on Thursday on the road against Southwestern, but followed it up with a nice home win over York to remain in third place all by themselves in conference. The Bulldogs are now winners of nine of their last ten and are 11-5 in the KCAC after beginning the year 1-2.
- Friends sits alone in fourth place for the time being, a half game up on two teams right behind them. The Falcons suffered a 20-point loss on Thursday at Kansas Wesleyan, but were able to answer with a 20-point win at home on Saturday over Tabor. Zion Fralin and James Conley both had 20-point performances in the victory over the Bluejays, led by Fralin’s 23 points. The team will have a big week ahead of them as they face two road games, first with Bethany on Wednesday before matching up with No. 7 Ottawa on Saturday. The Falcons went 1-1 with a win over Bethany against those teams the first time through conference play.
- RV Bethel had just one game this week and it was a bit of an unexpected result as they fell to the winless (at the time) Tabor Bluejays on Thursday 66-61. Since beginning KCAC play 7-1, the Threshers have dropped five of eight games and now find themselves in the middle of a log-jammed conference standings. Still receiving votes in the national poll, Bethel has a huge opportunity to prove they still belong with a pair of monumental home games– hosting Kansas Wesleyan and Ottawa this upcoming week. A lot will be said about the Threshers in seven days and where they sit in the KCAC.
- Kansas Wesleyan ended their week a perfect 2-0 and is now riding a four-game winning streak which was capped off with a home win over Friends and a road win in their rivalry battle with Bethany. Three different Coyotes players scored at least 16 points in their most recent victory, led by AJ Range’s 19. The game at Bethany was the first of three consecutive road games and will be followed up with trips to Avila and (RV) Bethel in the upcoming week. Kansas Wesleyan dropped both of their earlier contests against those two teams back in December by a combined 35 points.
- Southwestern began the week with a huge win over McPherson, leap-frogging themselves into the top four of the KCAC. Up until that point, the Moundbuilders were winners of 10 of their last 12 conference games after beginning the season 0-4 in league play. Southwestern was up by as many as 17 points against the Bulldogs before a late McPherson run made it interesting. The Builders followed up that win with a surprise result at home against the Sterling Warriors, who hit a last-second three with four ticks left on the clock to win the game by two inside Stewart Field House. Southwestern sits one game out of the fifth and sixth spots and two games out of fourth. The Builders will have just one game this week – a date on the road with No. 16 ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan, who they beat in overtime in their first meeting.
- Saint Mary went 1-1 on the week with a home win over Sterling and a road loss at No. 7 Ottawa. The Spires currently sit tied a half game up for the eighth and final spot over York at 7-9 in league play. Both Saint Mary and York picked up a win versus one another on the year. A big week awaits the Spires as they gear up for three games, one of which is a make-up contest with Avila on Monday. The team will then visit McPherson on Wednesday before hosting Bethany over the weekend. The three-game week sets up a pivotal mark of the season as there is not much room left to move up in the standings and will have several teams behind them gunning for the eighth and final KCAC-Tournament qualifying spot.
Currently out of KCAC Conference Tournament
- York has now lost eight of their last ten games and is a half game behind Saint Mary at 7-10 for the final qualifying spot for the KCAC Tournament in late February. The Panthers lost a pair of games over the week against top-of-the-league teams in Oklahoma Wesleyan and McPherson and will face last-place Tabor in their next contest before four consecutive games against teams above them in the conference standings. Five of their final seven games in league play are against teams with winning records in the KCAC.
- Avila is another team with a favorable chance to make a push for the eighth spot in the KCAC, sitting at 6-9 and just a half game behind Saint Mary as well. The Eagles had just one game over the week, a 27-point loss at Oklahoma Wesleyan, but more importantly is what lies ahead as just like the team they are chasing, they too have a three-game week looking at them – beginning with a showdown with Saint Mary on Saturday. It will be the first of two meetings between the Eagles and Spires as they fight with York for that final KCAC Tournament spot.
- Bethany is certainly not out of it, but has a lot of ground to make up if they wish to steal away eighth place from the three teams in front of them. Sitting at 5-12 in league play, the Swedes already have a win against second-place Oklahoma Wesleyan and were a few possessions away from picking up a couple of more wins. The Swedes are led by the conference’s leading scorer in Justin Jones and will face Friends at home Wednesday before a key game against Saint Mary on Saturday
- Sterling may have surprised a lot of people and spoiled Southwestern’s season a bit after they stole a win against the Moundbuilders on Saturday in Winfield. The Warriors have been in a majority of games this year, but have not been able to get over the hump of closing out games and it has cost them some wins. Perhaps Lucas Briar’s game-winning three against Southwestern will prove to be a turning point for this team as they look to end the season on a high note.
- Tabor also shocked the KCAC world over the week, defeating (RV) Bethel at home for their first conference win of the year and snapping a 17-game winning streak overall. The Bluejays will continue to have a say in how the KCAC unfolds as they face two teams in York and Avila this week that are both fighting for postseason positioning.
KCAC POWER RANKINGS
- (7) Ottawa – Maintains a one-game lead for first place
- (16) Oklahoma Wesleyan – Continues to put pressure on Ottawa for first place
- McPherson – Responded nicely to seeing their eight-game winning streak snapped
- Kansas Wesleyan – Defeated a team and front of them and riding a four-game win streak
- Friends – Hanging on to a top-four spot and first-round home game
- Southwestern – Snapped McPherson’s win streak but suffered home loss to Sterling
- (RV) Bethel – Suffered loss to last-place Tabor and have lost five of eight
- Saint Mary – Holding on to the last KCAC Tournament spot
- Avila – Half game out of eighth, but suffered 27-point loss in only game of week
- York – Continues to struggle and has lost eight of ten
- Bethany – Competitive in nearly every game
- Sterling – Upset Southwestern on the road
- Tabor – Upset (RV) Bethel but still just one win in conference
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Monday, January 27
Avila at Saint Mary
- Huge game as both teams are fighting for final KCAC Tournament qualifying spot
Wednesday, January 29th
#7 Ottawa at RV Bethel
- Conference showdown between two ranked teams and perhaps Ottawa’s toughest remaining road game
Saturday, February 1
Southwestern at #16 Oklahoma Wesleyan
- Last four meetings have been decided by a combined 12 points
Kansas Wesleyan at RV Bethel
- Critical game as both teams currently sit tied for 5th place