WICHITA, Kan. – The Southwestern College men's basketball team notched one of its most-meaningful wins of the season, and did so against its arch-rival Saturday evening. The Moundbuilders won a barn-burner over the Falcons of Friends University, 69-67, inside the Garvey Center in Wichita.
Sophomore Cameron Hunt led all scorers with 27 points. The Duncanville, Texas, native went 10-for-20 from the floor, and was 4-for-5 from the free throw line, while adding five rebounds and four assists. Junior DJ Wallace and freshman Barrington Hunter each scored 11 points as the only other Moundbuilders in double figures. Brent Smith was the team's leading rebounder with six boards.
Jordan Murdock led Friends with 23 points.
Southwestern (19-9, 12-8 KCAC) shot 41.8 percent (23-55) from the floor, and 40 percent (8-20) from three-point range. The Moundbuilders converted 71.4 percent (15-21) of their free throws, and out-rebounded the Falcons, 37-36.
Thirteen ties and 24 lead changes effectively summarizes Saturday's contest. Neither team led by more than four points at any point throughout the game. Myron Fisher scored the first points of the contest on a triple that gave Southwestern an early 3-0 lead. Friends (15-13, 11-9 KCAC) answered with four-straight points to take a 4-3 lead at the 16:56 mark, only to watch the Moundbuilders reel off a 7-2 run to take their largest lead of the game, 10-6, on a Barrington Hunter jumper with 14:20 still to play in the opening half. The rest of the period played out exactly like a rivalry game should. Each team found an answer for everything the other squad did. Friends looked to be gaining a bit of momentum after a 5-0 spurt that gave the Falcons a 20-17 lead with 7:33 remaining in the half, but Fisher drained another three to force a 20-20 tie with 5:53 left until halftime. Friends led the rest of the half, but never by more than four points, and when the halftime buzzer sounded, the Falcons held a 31-27 advantage.
The script continued in the second half. Cameron Hunt knocked down a triple on Southwestern's opening possession of the half, only to watch Friends answer with a 5-2 spurt over the next three minutes to regain a 36-32 lead with just over 16 minutes remaining in regulation. The Moundbuilders scored five points over the span of 22 seconds, including a Hunt trey to help Southwestern take a 37-36 lead with 15:04 to play. Six of the game's ties, and eight of the lead changes in the contest happened over the next 10 minutes. With 6:21 to play, the Builders faced a 56-52 deficit, but Hunt followed a runner with an old-fashioned three-point play that gave Southwestern a 57-56 lead with 5:54 to play. Over the next four minutes, every made-basket resulted in a lead change, including a Falcon triple that gave Friends a 67-66 lead with 1:52 to play. That lead stood until the 40-second mark, when a Hunt jumper gave Southwestern a 68-67 lead. Friends turned the ball over on its next possession, then fouled Hunt, who converted one of his two free throw opportunities to give the Moundbuilders a 69-67 edge with 10 seconds to play. The final 10 seconds were tense for Southwestern fans. Friends hoisted a three-point attempt that rimmed out, but the Falcons snagged the offensive rebound. After a physical scrum for the ball, Friends got the ball to an open shooter in the lane, but the Falcon was unable to get the shot off in time, and Southwestern escaped with the two-point win.
Saturday's win moves the Moundbuilders into sole possession of fourth place in the KCAC standings with two games to play. Southwestern hosts third-placed Saint Mary on Thursday in the final home game of the 2016-17 regular season. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. inside historic Stewart Field House.