WICHITA — A rash of late turnovers prevented the Bethany College men from reaching the .500 mark in KCAC play on Wednesday.
The Swedes, at one time ahead of Friends by 11 points, went cold the final 5 minutes as the Falcons closed the game on an 11-2 run for a 77-72 victory.
“Turnovers, bad shots, bad spacing and missed free throws hurt us down the stretch," Bethany coach Clair Oleen said. "We did have an earlier stretch in the second half where we played quite well in building an 11-point lead. This one hurts bad, but as a team we must show resolve and continue to plug away. We are a good basketball team."
Bethany, which had won five of seven in the KCAC after starting 0-4, is now 5-7 in the conference and 8-13 overall.
Joey Habtemariam topped the Swedes with 20 points. Gary Jones scored 13, Jonathan Gidson had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Larry McLin also scored 10.
Chris Singhateh scored 17 points to lead the Falcons.
Bethany has an open date on Saturday and next plays on Wednesday at KCAC leader Tabor, which had a tough time getting past Kansas Wesleyan 76-72 on Wednesday.
• FRIENDS WOMEN 76, BETHANY 69 — The return of All-KCAC guard Adriane Davis energized the Swedes, who put a scare into the KCAC’s No. 2 team.
The nationally ranked Falcons needed a late 10-3 run to fend off Bethany’s upset attempt.
Kimi Lindshield led the Swedes with 20 points, making 8 of 9 shots. Leslie Caballero scored 12 points and Davis had nine in her return after missing several games with an injury.
“It came down to turnovers and getting defensive rebounds, as we knew it would, unfortunately we failed to meet our goals in both of those areas,” Bethany coach Brett Morehouse said. “On the positive side, we played extremely hard and overcame losing Dominique (Davis) in the first few minutes to keep the game competitive throughout.”
KCAC Player of the Year candidate Shann Sellers led Friends with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
The Swedes are now 3-9 in the KCAC and 6-14 overall with a Wednesday matchup with nationally ranked Tabor in Hillsboro next on the docket. The Swedes have the KCAC’s open date on Saturday.