LEAVENWORTH — In the end, it was the Bethany College men’s season-long weakness that did them in.
While as offensively gifted as any basketball team in the KCAC, the Swedes could never quite lock down on the defensive end.
Saint Mary exploded for a 95-79 victory over the Swedes on Thursday in the first round of the KCAC Postseason Tournament.
Neither team played much defense in the first half as the Spires outscored the Swedes 50-42 and then Bethany came out cold in the second half, going down by as many as 21 points.
All-American Grant Greenberg, the KCAC’s leading scorer, burned the Swedes for 29 points. Trent Richardson came off the bench to supply 22.
Bethany was led by Jonathan Gidson with 18 points, 17 by Larry McLin, and 10 apiece from Gary Jones and Chavaz Jackson.
Bethany ended the season a disappointing 12-18 after being picked in the Top 3 in the preseason. The Swedes took a huge hit early in the season when All-America candidate Cody Harris was lost for the year with a severe ankle injury.
The Swedes lose Gidson, Jones and McLin as they have been longtime staples of the program.
In the other first-round games, Tabor breezed by Bethel 93-77, Southwestern blasted Oklahoma Wesleyan 83-56 and Friends crushed Ottawa 87-65 as none of the first-round games were close.
Friends goes to Tabor on Saturday, while Saint Mary plays at Southwestern.