The Kentucky Wesleyan College men’s basketball team will look for its first three-game winning streak of the season when the Panthers travel to face Alderson Broaddus on Saturday.
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. from Salem. West Virginia.
Wesleyan (8-13, 8-7 G-MAC) enters following Thursday’s 83-56 rout of Ohio Valley, in which the Panthers rolled out to a 20-point halftime lead and never looked back.
“I’m very happy with how we showed up,” KWC coach Drew Cooper said. “We’ve really tried to focus in on what it takes — from a mentality standpoint, from a maturity standpoint — to take the next step. Even up 20 at half, we revisited some things: Are we gonna be a team that is gonna hobble to the finish line, or are we gonna be a team that imposes our will on the game?
“In our last five games, I know we’ve evolved into a better defensive team. ... We’re playing very good basketball right now, we really are.”
Over that stretch, the Panthers have limited opponents to just 58.2 points per game — more than 14 points better than Wesleyan’s season average and a mark that would rank best in the conference.
Now, the Panthers have their sights on continuing that trend against the Battlers (7-17, 5-10), who captured the season’s first meeting with an 85-83 victory at the Sportscenter on Jan. 11.
“In terms of showing up against Alderson Broaddus and really making an impactful win when it comes to postseason ramifications,” Cooper said, “I am very, very hopeful we will pound the heck out of showing up the most confident, the most physical, the most together, the most enthusiastic team in the country. Those are the controllables.
“We’ve done that the last three games, and it’s shown in our performances, so I hope we can keep our foot on the gas here.”
ABU will rely on a starting group that includes 6-foot-4 senior forward Malik Bocook (16.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg), 5-10 sophomore guard KJ Walker (14.7 ppg), 6-6 sophomore guard David Shriver (11.5 ppg), 6-4 senior guard Bruce Spruell (10.7 ppg) and 6-6 junior forward John Grayson (2.8 ppg).
The Panthers will counter with a lineup of 6-1 senior guard Adam Goetz (16.3 ppg), 6-4 sophomore guard Wyatt Battaile (10.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg), 6-1 junior guard Jo Griffin (9.9 ppg), 6-2 junior guard Zach Hopewell (9.4 ppg) and 6-11 sophomore forward Sasha Sukhanov (4.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg).
The men’s contest will follow the No. 22 Kentucky Wesleyan women (23-1, 14-1 G-MAC) taking on Alderson Broaddus (6-18, 3-12) at noon.
The Panthers are 14-1 all-time against the Battlers, with 13 straight victories. KWC captured the previous meeting this season, 60-47, on Jan. 11.
Wesleyan enters on a 10-game winning streak, including an 88-63 win over Hillsdale on Feb. 8.