Friday, July 25, 2014

Braves start to win close games

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 1/17/2014

The Ottawa University men’s basketball team is maturing right before everybody’s eyes. The Braves could hardly buy a close win early in the season. Ottawa lost five games before the holiday break when games were decided by six points or less.

Ottawa began to turn things around with a one-point win over Bethel right before the break and have won three more close shaves in the new year.

The Ottawa University men’s basketball team is maturing right before everybody’s eyes. The Braves could hardly buy a close win early in the season. Ottawa lost five games before the holiday break when games were decided by six points or less.

Ottawa began to turn things around with a one-point win over Bethel right before the break and have won three more close shaves in the new year.

The Braves have won four of the past five games after Thursday’s 65-61 victory over McPherson in Wilson Field House.

“We were really good down the stretch,” Ottawa coach Andy Carrier said. “That is two games in a row we did the job defensively. We have won quite a few now. It gives you confidence.”

The Braves (9-8, 4-1) understand what it needs to do in these type of games. Play defense, rebound and put the ball in the hands of Kameron Lindsay and Julian Rose, who scored the final six points of the game in the last two minutes and finished with 25.

“We executed and got the ball in the right hands down the stretch,” Carrier said. “We are getting a lot more stops. McPherson is ranked just about as high as we are in every rebounding category. I knew it would be a physical ugly game down there. We are similar teams. Our bigs stepped up and started blocking shots. We held our own [on the boards]. We kept guarding.”

Lindsay was assigned to McPherson senior Samson Shivers, who had 15 points. Lindsay had 18 points.

“Don’t underestimate the job Kam did on Samson Shivers,” Carrier said. “He can explode. He is athletic as heck. He is a senior. Those four-year guys understand this league. They understand what is at stake.

“Kam did it on both ends. He was fabulous.”

A big part of the success has been the play of the younger players such as Alex Hasty, Bryan Newton, Eric Gant and Mark Hatchett.

“We have had some young kids that have had to play a ton,” Carrier said. “The more experience they get, the better they get.

“Alex Hasty defensively has given us huge lift.”

Carrier said Hatchett, who did not play against Tabor, made a big contribution Thursday night.

“He did not pout around,” Carrier said. “He came in and gave us a huge lift. They are playing for each other. Hopefully we can get on a roll. There is going to be a lot of dogfights.”

McPherson (61) — Powers 2, Shivers 15, Lakin 2, D. Johnson 15, Berry 6, Grant 6, Woods 7, B. Johnson 8.

Ottawa (65) — Nichols 2, Lundry 9, Lindsay 18, Hasty 2, Rose 25, Newton 2, Haase 2, Hatchett 1, Regier 4.

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