With four regular season games left, three on the road, the Braves look to make their move.
While the Ottawa University men’s basketball team (10-13, 9-9 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) sits eighth out of 12 teams in the conference standings, only three games separate the team from second place.
OU plays 8 p.m. Wednesday at Bethel College (7-18, 5-13 KCAC) in North Newton. Ottawa won the first matchup Dec. 12 at OU in a high scoring contest, 97-94.
The Threshers have struggled as of recent, particularly in close games. They have lost five of their last six games, including a 70-68 loss Saturday at home against the University of Saint Mary.
Since the beginning of January, the Bethel defense has allowed 84.4 points per game to its opponents.
Ottawa 93, McPherson 83
Isaiah Palmer dropped 27 points and the Braves overcame a Bulldog lead for their second win in three games.
McPherson clung to a 39-36 lead after a back-and-forth first half. That lead was extended to as many as seven points four separate times in the second half, but the Bulldogs had their last lead ousted when Palmer connected on two free throws at the 10:22 mark to give OU a 57-56 advantage.
The Braves built up their own lead from there, peaked at 83-72 off a three-point bucket by Palmer with 2:34 left.
A basket by Aaron Bachura with 1:02 left got the OU lead down to five points (88-83), but that was the last field goal the Bulldogs managed. Ottawa hit 5-8 free throws inside a minute to ice the win.
Palmer finished with a double-double, also collecting 10 boards. Hollis Mitchell, senior guard, had 14 points and went 9-12 from the foul line. Tasmania Indaiana Jones, junior forward, added 12 points and seven rebounds. Titus Rice, senior guard, had 11 points, and Alex Greisen, junior guard, finished with 10 points.
Ottawa shot 51 percent from the field (26-51) including 15-23 in the second half. The Braves hit 22 of their 34 free throws in the second half, and finished 34-49 from the foul line.
Ottawa (93) — Palmer 27, Mitchell 14, Jones 12, Rice 11, Greisen 10, McDow 9, Hansen 6, Perez 2, Neidig 2.
McPherson (83) — Bachura 17, Oxford 14, Munsen 14, Owen 12, Watts 8, Magot 7, Parker III 6, Ellison 3, Wiltfong 2.