KWU Coyote Comeback Comes Up just Short in 81-80 Setback Against Evangel

KWU Coyote Comeback Comes Up just Short in 81-80 Setback Against Evangel

Kansas Wesleyan coach Anthony Monson was  pleased with his team's gritty comeback Saturday night against a talented Evangel team. The Coyotes erased a 17-point second half deficit and took the lead with 1:17 left in the game.

They couldn't finish the job, though, victimized by turnovers and the inability to rebound a couple of missed free throws, the result an 81-80 Kansas Conference loss inside Mabee Arena.

The setback drops KWU to 4-4 and 1-1 in the KCAC. Evangel improves 2-2 and 2-0.

Trailing 69-52 with 10 minutes left the Coyotes battled back with an impressive 25-7 run. Caden Hale's layup with 1:17 left capped the rally and gave KWU a 77-76 lead but misfortune quickly followed.

Evangel missed two shots but Stephen Salvi grabbed a second offensive rebound and was fouled while shooting with 50.8 seconds remaining. Salvi, though, missed both free throws but Josh Pritchett grabbed the second miss and scored, giving the Valor a 78-77 lead.

KWU turned it over on its possession. Pritchett was fouled with 19.8 seconds left and made both foul shots making it 80-77.

After a time out the Coyotes turned it over again and fouled Evangel's Josh Mason with 6.3 seconds left. Mason missed both free throws but Pritchett rebounded the second miss once again, was fouled and made one of two free throws with 5.2 seconds left.

Caden Hale's 3-pointer with .7 seconds left were the game's final points.

"I'm proud of the guys for coming back from 17 down the second half then taking the lead but at the end of the day we didn't box out on free throws multiple times and didn't get the stops we needed to get," Monson said. "We didn't get it done.

"When you play a really good team like Evangel you have to get those stops, you have to do the little things right and we just didn't do the little things right."

The Coyotes were a spent team down the stretch.

"When you have to come back from such a large deficit you waste so much energy," Monson said.

The keys to the comeback weren't anything magical or mystical, according to Monson.

"It's must energy and effort, that's all it was. They played harder, they were more focused, they did things a little bit differently," he said. "They just wanted it. We did respond but at the same time your margin of error is so small when that happens."
Alex Littlejohn and Caden Hale fueled the comeback. Littlejohn finished with 19 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and three assists while Caden Hale scored 12 of his 15 points the second half.

KWU was minus starting post player Thurbil Bile who sat out with an injury.

Wesleyan shot 38.5 percent from the field for the game including 7 of 32 from 3-point range (22 percent). The Coyotes were 23 of 28 at the foul line.

Monson had no problem with number of 3-point shots.

"I thought we got really good looks from the outside," he said. "Our penetrate and kick game was really good – guys just didn't knock down shots. The way they were guarding and the way they were playing us we had to find ways to knock down some shots. … We got the right guys shooting the shots but we've got to hit them too."

Izaiah Hale scored 16 points – 14 the first half – and Jun Murdock had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists for KWU.

Pritchett led Evangel with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Valor shot 45.5 percent (30 of 66) including 5 of 18 from deep.

"We've got some things to work on, we've got to get better at some things but at the same time I am proud of the effort," Monson said.

The Coyotes have next week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. They resume play November 29 against McPherson in an 8 p.m. game in the Sport Center in McPherson. The Bulldogs (5-1, 1-1 KCAC) lost to Friends 70-66 Saturday in Wichita.

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