Men’s basketball didn’t end the season on the note they wanted to as they lost to the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes 67-60 Saturday in Salina. The loss was the fourth in their last five games and the seventh in their last nine. It also buried any hopes of the men finishing in the top four in the conference.

The Builders jumped out to a 13-6 lead. The Coyotes battled back, though and took a 32-30 lead going into the locker rooms at halftime.

Both teams continued to play each other close through the second half. Southwestern took a 49-41 lead midway through, but it did not last. Kansas Wesleyan steadily made their way back into the game as they knotted up the score at 53 with five minutes remaining in regulation.

From that point on, the Coyotes controlled the game. With a minute left on the clock, they took a 62-58 lead from which the Builders never recovered from. “We didn’t make shots down the line, but we fought really hard,” said Matt O’Brien, head men’s basketball coach. “I am really proud of our team. They played with a little more passion than the past few weeks.”

Southwestern turned the ball over 17 times compared to the Coyote’s seven. The men also committed 31 fouls and allowed Kansas Wesleyan to shoot 42 free throws in the game. The Builders connected on just two of 17 shots from beyond the arc.

Justin Diggles, senior guard, led the men in scoring. He finished with 22 points and went 9-14 from the field.

The men now look toward the upcoming KCAC tournament. “I am excited to see our team play in the KCAC conference tournament,” said O’Brien. “I am ready to play anybody.”

The men will have another chance against the Coyotes in the quarterfinal matchup on Thursady. The game will begin at 7 p.m. in Salina.

Clinton is a freshman majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at clinton.dick@sckans.edu.