Thunder Win Close One in Springfield

Springfield, MO - The Manhattan Christian College Thunder men's basketball team embarked on a two game road trip starting in Joplin, MO on Friday February, 12 against a conference opponent, and long-time rival Ozark Christian College. They were able to pick up a big 12-point win over the Ozark Ambassadors, in a hostile environment, where they have had success, but also struggled at times over the past few years. 

Fast forward a day, and the Thunder had traveled further east for a mid-afternoon bout with another opponent they'd faced, and beat earlier in the season, the Baptist Bible College Patriots (Springfield, MO). The Thunder had coasted to a 91-79 victory in late January over the Patriots, but the score was not indicative of how well Baptist had competed throughout the game with the Thunder the first go-round. In the first matchup, they were able to get contributions from all around, despite their lack of depth where they only suited out seven players, all seven players played major minutes, and contributed in various ways. 

The second matchup between the two heavyweight competitors was much like the first, as the Patriots were still very slim in the depth department, this time suiting out eight players, but that did not stop them from making this one interesting. 

The first half was a battle and with all indications pointing towards the Thunder having the advantage in bodies, bringing 13 players on the road trip, the game was a tight one through the first stanza. 

The Thunder struggled with foul trouble, and also came out of the gate a bit sluggish, unable to connect on shots that had fallen with ease for them a night ago. But they were able to rely on their workhorse in the paint, in senior Will Chisam. As they did the night before against Ozark, the Thunder fell back onto their ability to get to the rim, and simply overpower their opponent in the paint as they shot 50% from the field (14/28). They struggled from behind the arc in the first, shooting an uncharacteristic 28.6%, connecting on just two of seven 3-point shots. 

The Patriots, although they didn't matchup well size wise, they made up for it with their ability to shoot efficiently from the field, although they struggled as well from behind the arc, shooting just 27.3%, on 3 of 11. Despite the struggles from deep, and their inability to string together multiple stops on the defensive end, their power and dominance inside allowed the Thunder to hold a two point lead going into halftime, at 38-36. 

The second half was much of the same for both teams, as it continued to be a back-and-forth game throughout the remainder. The Thunder were able to get going a little bit, increasing on both percentages from the field and from 3-point land in the second half. They continued their dominance inside, relying on a multitude of players to contribute from inside 15 feet. 

Junior Michael White was the second leading scorer for the Thunder, and presented himself as a tough matchup for the Patriots, especially when on the floor with senior big man, the duo of tall and long was hard to stop. White was able to not only get to the rim and score, but he shared the wealth very well on top of that, racking in six assists.

Junior Jacob White also presented himself as a problem for the Patriots, as he had been struggling shooting the ball in games past, he was able to connect on three of six shots from the floor, shot 100% from the free throw line, and racked in seven total rebounds, and eight assists, to put together an impressive statline for the game. 

The Patriots were also able to present matchup issues for the Thunder, as their small but quick team oreinted attack was hard for the Thunder to matchup with at times. Of the seven the Patriots had play in this one, not one played less than 19 minutes (nearly a full half) throughout the game. Having a lineup that looks more guard-oriented, the Patriots rely on the long ball and quick ball movement in to jumpshots, as well as transition offense to earn the majority of their points. 

With the guard-oriented lineup in play, the Thunder struggled foundt themselves in a bit of a quandry throughout the game, as their big men struggled to guard the Patriots on the perimeter, allowing them to stay in the game. In the second half Baptist Bible was also able to improve on their first half marks from both the field and from deep, which contributed to their ability to keep the Thunder on their toes. 

What seemed to be the deciding factor in this up and down game was something the Thunder have struggled with over the past few games, being free throws. The Thunder were able to shoot a perfect 100% on eight attempts in the first, and 73.3% in the second, combining for 19 or 23 in the game. The Patriots struggled from the free throw line, which ended up being a detriment to them when the final buzzer sounded, as they left nine possible points on the line, shooting 16 of 25 and just 64%. 

The Patriots kept it interesting, having four of their seven players who played score 17 or more points. But the Thunder were able to have all five starters in the game score in double digits, which proved to be a big storyline in the game. 

Manhattan was led by senior Will Chisam who scored 23 points and brought in 6 rebounds, followed by junior Michael White who contributed 18 points, fellow juniors Jacob Harper and Dalton Miller scored 10 and 14 respectively, while sophomore Sterling Turner went 9 of 10 from the free throw line and ended with 15 points total.

Manhattan will be back in action Monday February, 15 at City Auditorium as they close out the regular season with a likely top 5 matchup against #1 Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College (Moore, OK). The Thunder fell to the Saints by 3, 84-81 earlier in the season and are looking for some redemption come Monday evening. 

Be sure to tune in to the MCC Network for live coverage of the game.



Manhattan Christian College:

#4 Sterling Turner 15, #5 Dalton Miller 14 (4), #12 KJ Dobbins 4 (1), #13 David Frost 2, #14 Michael White 18, #21 Jacob Harper 10, #24 Izic Vanegas 2,

#33 Will Chisam 23.

Baptist Bible College:

#1 Matt Kick 6, #2 Jayden Jones 19 (3), #5 Denzel Johnson 5, #10 Devon Matthews 17 (2), #24 Justin Tims 18, #32 Skylar Baker (5). 



MCC Scoreboard

2/25/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 2s Arlington Baptist College | L, 88-81 
2/20/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 1 Barclay College | W, 109-90 
2/20/2021 | Womens Basketball vs. No. 5 Faith Baptist Bible College | W, 78-67 
2/19/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 3 Faith Baptist Bible College | W, 93-70 
2/19/2021 | Womens Basketball vs. No. 7 Central Christian College of the Bible | W, 64-57