The schedule doesn’t get easier from here on out. Six regular season games remain for the Ottawa University men’s basketball team, four against teams with winning conference records, and two of those against ranked squads.
The Braves (9-12, 8-8 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) look to make a splash in the conference standings as the season winds down. The third through eighth place teams in the current standings are all within two games of each other, with OU pulling up the rear.
Ottawa gets its crack at a ranked opponent 8 p.m. Wednesday at No. 21 Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The Braves won the first matchup Dec. 6 in Ottawa 87-82, marking OU’s only win against a Top 25 team this season.
The Eagles (17-7, 10-6 KCAC) have been upset twice in January — once by Kansas Wesleyan and once by Sterling — but in their six wins this month they have an average margin of victory of 19.6 points. OKWU topped Saint Mary Saturday at home 70-54 in its most recent action.
Ottawa 73, Bethany 67
The seniors came up clutch down the stretch. Hollis Mitchell, senior guard, hit two big three-pointers in the final minute, and Ottawa won for the second time in eight games, topping visiting Bethany College Saturday 73-67.
The Swedes led 67-64 with 1:09 left in the game. Mitchell sunk his first three seven seconds later to tie it up. Following a missfire by Bethany’s Isiah Saenz that gave the Braves the ball back, Mitchell fired up his second three that went in with 19 seconds left.
Fellow senior guard Titus Rice came up with a huge steal on the ensuing inbounds from the Swedes. Bethany’s Milos Milosevic was called for an intentional foul, sending Rice to the line where he connected on both free throws to give OU the 72-67 lead with 15 seconds left. Tyler Larkin was then called for a technical foul sending Mitchell to the line where he iced the game by hitting 1-2 shots.
Ottawa clawed its way back into the game after a rough start. The team trailed Bethany by as many as 14 (20-6) early in the first half, but cut into the lead thanks to 13 points from Isaiah Palmer, junior guard, in the final nine minutes of the half.
Palmer and Mitchell both led the OU offense with 20 points apiece. Tasmania Indaiana Jones, junior forward, added 11 points.
Ottawa (73) — Palmer 20, Mitchell 20, Jones 11, McDow 9, Rice 6, Greisen 4, Hansen 2, Mallory 1.
Bethany (67) — Brown 15, Larkin 15, Saenz 15, Hood 9, Milosevic 8, Chazelas 4, Patrick 1.