BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — There’s still 16 conference basketball games left to be played in the never-ending KCAC season, but Bethany College’s men — mentioned greatly in the preseason conference championship talk — have dug themselves a hole that may too deep to get out of.
The Swedes stunningly fell to 0-4 in the KCAC on Saturday as their defense again betrayed them in a 96-89 loss to KCAC newcomer Oklahoma Wesleyan.
Bethany is learning that life without preseason All-America candidate Cody Harris is difficult. Jonathan Gidson and Gary Jones scored 20 points apiece and Larry McLin added 18 for the Swedes, who were down 48-38 at the half.
“When we start playing defense with energy and passion for 40 minutes, we will be pretty good,” Bethany coach Clair Oleen said. "On our best teams through the years, defense and work ethic determined court time. It is time to return to that."
The Swedes host county rival McPherson College on Thursday in a battle of the KCAC’s two bottom teams.
• OKLAHOMA WESLEYAN WOMEN 73, BETHANY 56 — Like the Swede men, the Bethany women are still looking for their first KCAC win.
Oklahoma Wesleyan, still smarting from being routed by Friends by 31 points on Thursday, used a big second half to pull away from the Swedes. It was just a four-point deficit at the half.
“We did a great job following the game plan and challenging their 3-point attempts until about the last 4 minutes of the third quarter,” Bethany coach Brett Morehouse said. “We went from being down two to down 14 points in a hurry. Unfortunately, a team like Oklahoma Wesleyan only needs a couple breakdowns to go on a quick run and that's exactly what happened when they hit four straight 3-pointers. I thought we played extremely hard throughout the game, just not very disciplined at times.”
Bethany had nice balance with Paige Stewart scoring 15 points, Adriane Davis 14 and Dominique Davis 13.
The Swedes are now 3-7 overall and host McPherson College on Thursday.