Men’s Basketball Defeats St. Mary’s on Community Appreciation Day

Written by: Alyssa Willetts

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The Oklahoma Wesleyan men’s basketball team showed their defensive strength the afternoon of Saturday, January 27th, beating Saint Mary’s Catholic Univeristy 70-54. Point guard KJ Malveau led the Eagle’s in points scoring a total of 15, while Forward Josh Wilchcombe had a huge defensive game with 5 rebounds and 7 blocks.

The first matchup between these two teams took place back in December at the home of the Spires where the OKWU men fell short 88-89. This time around, the Eagle’s had much more to lose, being currently ranked at #21 in the latest NAIA poll and already having one loss that week. Head coach Donnie Bostwick said, “I thought our defense set the tone right out of the gate [and] got us a good lead.” He also prided his bench for coming in and giving them a big lift.

Eagle forward Josh Wilchcombe was a primary key in the team’s success on Saturday both offensively and defensively. He said this after the win, “My mindset going into the game was first to glorify God through my play, and the second thing was just to be a leader and set the tone defensively because that’s what coach preaches in practice a lot.”

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KJ Malveau, Junior guard for the Eagle’s, is one of the leading scorers on the team with 104 points total this season. After shooting for 50% that night, he said, “I just try to stay aggressive and take advantage of what the defense gives me. If it’s a hot night, the guys look for me a lot more.”

Not only was this game pleasing to the eyes of the OKWU fans, but to their taste buds as well. The week prior to this game, Associate Athletic Director Nick Morris plastered posters everywhere, getting the word out about Community Appreciation Day, and what got the fans attention most? FREE BACON! When asked “Why bacon?” Nick Morris’s response was this: “It catches your attention, it’s something people haven’t heard of before usually, and you know– everybody likes bacon.” After seeing the big turnout of fans, Nick Morris was very pleased and hopes to have that same outreach for future games.

At a smaller university, like Oklahoma Wesleyan, Nick Morris believes it is very important to gain community support: “We wanted to give back to them and show how much we really appreciate their support for our athletic programs.” This is only his second year as Associate Athletic Director, but he has already taken promoting the various OKWU athletic programs to new heights. Nick Morris said, “My goal is to always bring fans out to our games and showcase what we have to offer here at Oklahoma Wesleyan.”

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Community appreciation day impacts not only the fans, but the players as well. Point guard KJ Malveau had this to say about the benefits the crowd had on their win: “It was great, great energy. Everybody was loud—louder than usual. We need that every home game.” Junior forward Josh Wilchcombe also had his own shout-out to give to the fans: “I enjoy them— and their hypeness. Keep coming to every single game. It’s a blessing just to have them out there.”

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