Olathe, Kan.–The rust never fully came off Wednesday night as the Statesmen men’s basketball team fell 83-79 to MidAmerica Nazarene in Heart of America Athletic Conference action.
#4 WPU (11-2, 7-2 Heart), which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped, was outshot 46.9%-39.7%. Despite the lack of shooting success, the visitors, who had not played since December 10, had a chance to go on top late. Unfortunately, they could not get the ball to drop on their end.
On the other side of the hardwood, the Pioneers (6-7, 5-4 Heart) proved the night belonged to them by earning the friendly kiss off the home glass on a three-point heave right before the buzzer sounded. A foul was also called, and it was made as well to ice the victory for the hosts.
The navy and gold rolled out to a 14-point edge midway through the first half before settling on a 44-35 halftime edge. WPU was still up eight at 69-61 with 7:51 to go, but could not hold off the Pioneers’ push in the final minutes.
Charles Knowles (Sr., Chicago, Ill., Physical Education) struck from all over, scoring a team-best 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting (5-for-7 3-PT, 2-for-2 FT). The rest of the Statesmen were cold from deep, though, as William Penn finished just 11-for-31 from behind the arc.
WPU had two fewer turnovers (10-12), but MNU was more advantageous with a 13-8 mark in points off turnovers. The Statesmen, who also rarely on the short end of the rebounding battle, were also beaten in that department 41-39; they still held a 15-14 edge in second-chance points.
Torren Jones (Sr., Chandler, Ariz., Sociology) did most of the glass work with 13 rebounds to accompany his 18 points as part of another double-double.
Lionel Ellison (Sr., New Orleans, La., Kinesiology) recorded 11 points with six assists and two steals, while Jarvis Haywood (Sr., Charlotte, N.C., Business Management) returned from his first action since late November to also reach double figures with 10. The ball was distributed well with 20 assists coming on the 29 made buckets.
Corbin Medley (Jr., Rogersville, Mo., General Accounting) added eight points off the bench.
William Penn did not have many opportunities at the charity stripe, but knocked down the few it was allotted with a 10-for-13 effort.
“We were out-worked and out-coached tonight,” Head Coach John Henry said. “MNU deserved to win more than we did.”
Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa Saturday to host Graceland in Heart action at 4 p.m.