For the first part of the game, it appeared the NAIA DI 22nd-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) Pioneers thought they were going to come to Peru and walk away with an easy win.


For the first part of the game, it appeared the NAIA DI 22nd-ranked MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) Pioneers thought they were going to come to Peru and walk away with an easy win.
However, the Peru State College (PSC) Bobcat men had other plans. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, MidAmerica Nazarene had enough to come back and pull out a 78-76 win over the ‘Cats.
The fifth-straight win for the Pioneers helped them improve their overall record to 15-7 and 9-1 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC).    MNU has a one and one-half game lead over Evangel in the conference race.
Despite playing one of their best games of the season, PSC fell to 1-21 overall. The Bobcats are still looking for their first HAAC win having dropped their first ten games.

Game Action
In the first half of the game, the Bobcats never trailed. The game was tied on a couple of occasions, but PSC always came back to take the lead.
Patrick Riley (Kansas City, Mo.) put in a trey to start the game for the ‘Cats with just 11 ticks off the clock. MNU countered with a bucket before Peter Knudsen (Vanloese, Denmark) put PSC back up 5-2.
The game was knotted at 5-5 and 7-7 before Peru State went on a 6-0 run which was capped off by a Derrick Williams (St. Joseph, Mo.) bucket with just over ten minutes to go in the first half making it 13-7. Following a Pioneer hoop, Eric Donald (Omaha) drained a three and Williams had another bucket giving the Bobcats an 18-9 advantage at the 9:51 mark.
Following a MNU bucket, PSC got another four points – two free throws by Williams and a bucket by Andre Wells (Colorado Springs) on an assist from Williams. PSC lead 22-11 with 8:40 left.
The ‘Cats had three different 12-point leads in the remainder of the half before settling for a ten-point, 38-28, lead at the end of the first 20 minutes.
MidAmerica came out at the half and scored the first four points making it 38-32 with 18:00 left in the game. A Knudsen bucket put PSC up by eight at 40-32 on the next possession. A Pioneer trey cut the Bobcat advantage to five with just over 17 minutes left.
The second of two free throws by Williams made it 41-35, but the Pioneers countered with another three and then followed with a two-pointer cut it to 41-40 PSC. Richard Oppitz (Topeka, Kan.) stopped the MNU run with a hoop giving PSC a three-point margin at the 14:34 mark.
Ten seconds later the Pioneers came back with a bucket and after a Bobcat offensive foul, on their next possession, MNU tied the game at 43-43 as a Pioneer player hit the second of two free throws.
After a missed Bobcat three-point try, MNU brought it down the court and were fouled by Peru State. Again, the Pioneers hit one of two free throws and had their first advantage at 44-43 at the 13:19 mark.
Another MidAmerica bucket gave the Pioneers their largest lead at 46-43. Williams was fouled and hit both tries getting PSC back a one-point deficit at 46-45 with 12:39 to go in the game.
MNU had a quick 5-0 run to go up by six before Kevin Tighe (North Platte) completed an old-fashioned three-point play to cut it to 51-48 with 11:29 remaining.
A 12-7 run gave MNU their largest lead of the game at 63-55. This came after the officials spent a good five minutes reviewing the game tape to see if the last Pioneer shot was a three-pointer, instead of two. The MNU coaching staff convinced the officiating crew to do so and it worked to their advantage.
A 12-4 Bobcat run knotted the game at 67-67 with 5:08 to go as Williams was fouled on the play. Williams scored ten of the 12 in the run to tie it up, but missed the free throw.
Following a Pioneer miss at the free throw line, the Bobcats came down the floor and Williams hit another bucket as PSC regained the lead at 69-67 with 3:53 left.
A questionable call put MNU back at the line where they made both free throws again tying the game at 69-69. The Pioneers hit a trey, but Tighe countered with one of his own to keep it tied at 72 all with 1:46 left.
MNU hit a bucket and Oppitz followed with one for PSC making it 74-74 all before the Pioneers hit one giving them a two-point advantage at 76-74 with 1:15 remaining.
Tighe stole the ball on the Pioneers’ next possession and the ‘Cats called a timeout with 26 ticks left on the clock to set up a play to tie the game or possibly take the lead. However, a turnover gave the ball back to MNU with 13 seconds on the clock and the Pioneers quickly took a timeout. The ‘Cats fouled putting the Pioneers to the line with 7.2 seconds left. MNU hit both giving them a two-possession lead at 78-74.
A Williams bucket at the buzzer cut it to two, but MNU prevailed.

Team Statistics
Both teams shot the ball well with the Pioneers holding a slight advantage in all three categories.    MNU hit 50% of their field goals making 28 of 56 including seven of 12 from behind the arc for an even better 58.3%. At the line, the Pioneers were 15 of 21 for 71.4%.
Peru State was 30 of 65 from the floor for 46.2% and regained their shooting touch from three-point range making four of ten for 40%. The off-and-on struggles at the charity stripe continued as PSC made 12 of 24 for 50%.
The ‘Cats were dominating on the boards grabbing 41 rebounds compared to MNU’s 25. PSC blocked seven Pioneer shots while MNU swatted away four Bobcat tries. MNU forced PSC into 28 turnovers while committing 21.

Individual Statistics
Both teams had three players scoring in double figures. PSC’s Williams led all scorers with 29 points on 10 of 21 shooting from the floor and nine of 14 at the line. Williams also matched Jake Schaben’s (Defiance, Iowa) efforts in grabbing ten rebounds – another game-high.
Tighe finished with 12 points and three rebounds while Wells added ten points, three rebounds, and blocked three shots. Oppitz added nine boards and three blocks.
KNCY Player of the Game – Derrick Williams
Following his 29-point and ten-rebound performance, Williams was selected as the KNCY Player of the Game. Williams said, “We put together a great team effort and just about beat the number one team in the conference. We will work hard tomorrow in practice and try to get a win on Saturday.”
Bobcat Head Coach Comments
Following the tough loss, Bobcat head coach Troy Katen said, “Well, this is one where we played up to our capabilities. I am very proud of the guys as they put forth a great effort. The kids, you can’t be any more proud of them, especially coming off the last game, as they stepped up and played great.”
Talking more about the game, Katen noted, “We had them a little befuddled at the beginning. We did a great job transition-wise and it kept them confused. It was one of the best ball games we have played in some time. We should be able to win some of the next eight games.”
“We learned a lot from our first game with MNU and we made just a few simple adjustments of what we ran against MNU the first time and it made a difference.    It was a credit to our guys for the efforts they made. We are not too far off in terms of playing with the rest of the teams in the conference,” continued Katen.
In conclusion, Katen noted his thanks to the crowd who helped spur his team on.

Next Action
Central Methodist University of Fayetteville, Mo., is the next Bobcat opponent on Saturday, Jan. 28. The men’s game is scheduled for 4 p.m. or immediately following the women’s game.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Bobcats will play an exhibition game when they travel 70 miles north to take on the NCAA DI University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Then, on Saturday, Feb. 4, Peru State will host Culver-Stockton College. The men’s tipoff is scheduled for approximately 4 p.m. Fans can be entertained as Gary’s Tumbling will be performing at halftime of each game.
All Bobcat action can be heard on KNCY 103.1 Country Radio.