The nationally-ranked Ottawa University men’s basketball team will wait an extra couple of days to close out the the first half of the KCAC schedule.
A winter storm moved Saturday’s game with McPherson at Wilson Field House to Monday. The women’s game will start at 5 p.m. followed by the men at 7 p.m.
The men’s game features two of the surprise teams in the KCAC this season. Ottawa (16-1, 10-1), which is leading the conference by two games, finished fifth last year, while McPherson (12-5, 7-4) finished near the bottom of the conference a year ago.
McPherson heads to Ottawa with a four-game winning streak, while the 10th-ranked Braves are on an eight-game winning streak with its only loss coming to Saint Mary before Thanksgiving.
Ottawa is on the verge of a record-setting season. The Braves’ 10-1 record is its best record in KCAC play through 11 conference games since the 1958-59 season. That year, the Braves went 11-0 through 11 KCAC games. They finished conference play with a record of 12-1.
The 16-1 overall mark is the best start to a season since the 1952-53 season.
Ottawa has been money inside Wilson Field House, winning 18 of its past 20 home games. Ottawa has won 11 straight on Andy Carrier Court, named after the former Braves coach.
Ottawa has owned the series between the two schools. The Braves have won nine straight games against the Bulldogs and lead the overall series, 108-64. Ottawa has not lost to McPherson since the 2014-15 season.
The game could be a high-octane game with the two of the highest-scoring teams in the NAIA. Ottawa averages 89 points per game, which ranks 14th in the NAIA. McPherson scores 83 points per game, which ranks 31st in the NAIA.
The game features a battle between Ottawa’s three-point shooting (39 percent), which ranks 14th in the NAIA versus McPherson’s three-point defense (29 percent), which is third in the NAIA.
Ottawa’s offense is predicated on balance as six players have led the Braves in scoring during a single-game. Ottawa has six players averaging between nine points and 18 points.
Junior guard Darryl Bowie tops Ottawa with an average of 17.8 points per game. Senior Ryan Haskins averages 13.6 points and leads the team with 44 made treys. Jaquan Daniels averages 13.1 points and leads the team in rebounds (6.0) and steals (2.4) per game. Mason McDow, Kyle Patrick and Mat Baldeh average nine points per game.
Fred Watts tops the Bulldogs in scoring (14.6). Lual Magot is McPherson’s top rebounder (9.4) and Delvon Hightower leads in assists (3).