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Bowling Green standout making impression at Milsaps

Millsaps College coach Tim Wise said when talking about sophomore forward Mac McElveen, the key word is versatility.

“Mac is a multifaceted player for us offensively and defensively,” Wise said. “With his long frame, he can help us inside and outside. Defensively, he helps us with his length. He can guard and defend the passing lanes. Versatility is the key word with Mac. The big wing type of player is a bonus for us. He’s called on to do a lot, rebound, handle the ball and create scoring opportunities for himself and others. He’s a wing, but he also has guard abilities with passing the ball and driving. It’s not like he’s a sophomore with no experience, he got good minutes last year.”

McElveen’s versatility is showing up all over the stat sheet and has helped the Majors in the win column.

This season, the 2013 Bowling Green graduate is leading the team with 13.9 points per game and 32.5 minutes per game. He’s second at 4.6 rebounds per game, 1.5 treys per game and 2.1 assists per contest.

McElveen, a business management major, is also hitting 39.6 percent (40-101) of his field goals and 31.6 percent from beyond the arc (12-38).

McElveen got off to a tough start this season in shooting and scoring. He began the year 8-for-32 (25 percent) shooting and averaged just seven points a contest over the first three.

Since then McElveen has turned things around. Over the last five games, he’s averaging 16.8 points per game and is hitting 46.8 percent of his field goals (32-69).

“My dad always told me that shooters shoot,” McElveen said. “You’ve got to shoot to get hot and you shoot to stay hot. But if it’s not going down, you’ve got to find other ways to help your team.”

McElveen said he’s feeling pretty confident in his shot and his decision making on the court.

“Coach told me he would put me in positions to make decisions, which has been stressful being a sophomore, but for the most part, it’s worked out,” McElveen said.

Along with the stats going up, so have the minutes. In fact, it’s been rare for McElveen to come out of a game of late.

Over the last three games, which included an overtime contest, all wins, McElveen has played in 123 of the possible 125 minutes or 98.4 percent of the time. Over the last five contests, McElveen’s minutes have been 33, 34, 40, 45 and 38.

On Dec. 5, Millsaps defeated Covenant, 73-67, in overtime and McElveen scored his collegiate career high of 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting. He also tied his season-high in rebounds with eight.

“I started off hitting baseline jumpers,” McElveen said. “We kind of had them in match up problems. I had like eight points at halftime with no threes. In the second half, we got out in transition, which opened the court for me and my teammates. I hit a couple of threes. The game was back-and-forth. We’d take the lead, and they’d take the lead. Coach started calling isolations for me to settle us down because they started speeding up the game with their press.”

McElveen played all 45 minutes that game and then turned around in a day game after a night game situation and played for 38 minutes. In fewer than 24 hours, McElveen logged 83 minutes of playing time.

“Coach asked me how much I could go (for the game Dec. 6),” McElveen said. “I told him I’d go as much as he needed me. As long as I’m out there doing what I’m capable of doing, 40 minutes, 80 minutes, 120 minutes, and I can do it at 100 percent. I’m good with it. If I can only go at 65 percent, and I’m not helping the team, then I’d want them to get somebody else in so I don’t hurt the team.”

McElveen’s shooting struggled the following day. He scored six points on 3-of-10 shooting, but he found other ways to help the team by dishing out five assists and coming up with two steals.

Millsaps, which was led by junior Marc Robertson’s 19 points, six rebounds and six assists, defeated previously undefeated Dallas, 63-57, Dec. 6.

Robertson was named the Southern Athletic Association Player of the Week after those two games. He scored 18 and 19 points respectively and knocked down 11 of his 20 shots (55 percent) and went 11 of 16 from beyond the arc (68.7 percent).

The Majors have won three straight and are 4-4 this season.

The next game is a home game Dec. 18 at home against Austin.