Four regular season games left and the KCAC is anything but decided. While Oklahoma Wesleyan and Southwestern duke it out for the conference championship, the Ottawa University men’s basketball team (15-11, 12-8 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) is very much alive in the postseason hunt. Currently fifth in the conference standings, OU is two games up on sixth-place Saint Mary and a game behind Kansas Wesleyan for fourth — a spot that guarantees a home KCAC tournament game.
Both Kansas Wesleyan and Ottawa won Saturday, with the Coyotes upsetting No. 20 Friends University 72-67 in Salina. The Braves, meanwhile, used a late push to top Bethel College 81-70 at home on Senior Night.
The first half between OU and Bethel ended in a 32-32 stalemate with tensions rising between players when both teams exited for the locker rooms. Ottawa went up by as many a nine points midway through the second half, but the Threshers countered with a 9-0 run to tie the game 63-63 with 5:36 left.
The Braves turned on the jets for a 10-0 run thanks to threes from Isaiah Palmer and Darryl Bowie. OU never led by less than seven points after its late run.
Five players scored in double figures for Ottawa led by Tasmania Indaiana Jones with 16 points on 6-11 shooting. Palmer followed with 15, Matt Baldeh had 14 while Ryan Haskins and Mason McDow both scored 10 points apiece.
Ottawa now turns its sights to three of its final four games on the road, starting with York College 7 p.m. Wednesday in York, Nebraska. The Panthers (11-14, 9-11 KCAC) have won just three of their last 11 games, including a 93-85 win over Sterling College Saturday. Seven of those eight losses have came by 10 points or less.
Ottawa (81) - Jones 16, Palmer 15, Baldeh 14, Haskins 10, McDow 10, Greisen 8, Bowie 8.
Bethel (70) - Foster 17, Scott 14, Weiher 9, Marshall 9, Ga. White 7, Gr. White 6, Sleep 4, Morgan 2, Fall 2.