WINFIELD — The Braves are stuck in the middle of a jumbled conference standings with the meat of their schedule remaining.
After suffering its first loss in six games Wednesday, the Ottawa University men’s basketball team (7-7, 6-3 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) hosts Tabor College (7-8, 6-3) 5 p.m. today at OU’s Wilson Field House. The game has big implications in the KCAC standings with five teams at 6-3 in conference play thus far. All five of those teams (Ottawa, Tabor, Friends, Kansas Wesleyan and Saint Mary) are in a tie for second place behind No. 8 Southwestern College.
The Blue Jays have lost three straight games, including their first conference game back from winter break. They fell Wednesday 93-78 at Oklahoma Wesleyan in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Ottawa felt the sting of a loss Wednesday as well, dropping a heated contest at Southwestern in Winfield, 84-81.
The game featured 17 lead changes and six ties. Just 46 seconds of game time were spent with either team having a double-digit lead.
The Braves battled back in the second half after falling behind 57-46 with 13:48 left. Isaiah Palmer, junior guard, gave OU its first lead in nearly four minutes of play when he hit a three-point shot with 1:17 left, putting his team up 81-80. Fellow junior guard Alex Greisen tallied the assist on the play.
Palmer fouled Southwestern’s Cameron Hunt with 1:01 left, sending him to the free throw line where he connected twice to give the Moundbuilders the 82-81 lead.
Titus Rice, senior guard, missed a shot with 44 seconds left on OU’s next offensive possession. Southwestern melted the clock down to inside 20 seconds, but Tasmania Indaiana Jones, junior forward, came up big on the defensive end for the Braves. He blocked a shot by DJ Wallace with 17 seconds left, allowing Palmer to snag the loose ball. Despite the effort, a three-point shot by Hollis Mitchell, senior guard, missed with three ticks left. Hunt laid in a basket at the buzzer and the Braves six-game win streak was snapped.
Both teams shot more than 50 percent from the field. Ottawa hit 34-66 shots (51.5 percent) and Southwestern hit 34-67 (50.7 percent).
SC (84) — Hunt 19, Hamm 13, Wallace 12, Fisher 12, Smith 9, Hardy 8, Baker 4, Horsch 3, Mills 2, Martinez 2.
OU (81) — Rice 22, Palmer 16, McDow 12, Jones 10, Mitchell 8, Greisen 5, Perez 5, Mallory 3.