LINDSBORG — Aaron Bachura played beat the clock.
The McPherson College guard sped up the court for a breakaway layup with 0.8 seconds left Monday night to give the Bulldogs an emotional 87-85 victory over county rival Bethany College to end a Mac eight-game KCAC losing streak.
With the game tied at 85, the Bulldogs were supposed to hold for the final shot, but Bachura launched a long jumper that missed with 12 seconds remaining.
Bethany rushed up the court, but a Khalid Washington short shot was off the rim with 6 seconds to go. Mac’s Ryan O’Hara grabbed the rebound, pitched the ball to DeAndre Henson, who got it ahead to Bachura, who had leaked out. He raced in and beat the clock with less than a second to spare as Mac handed the uber-talented Swedes their fifth straight loss.
The game-winner finished off a 22-point night for Bachura, who made 6 of 12 from beyond the arc. Chris Crook also scored 22 for Mac, 17 in the second half. Grant Raleigh played perhaps his best all-around game of the year with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Henson hit for double figures as well with 12 points.
“We seem to usually have a stretch in every game where we’re not very good,” said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team is now 2-10 in the KCAC and 8-12 overall. “I thought right at the beginning of the second half we started to do that a little bit, but we didn’t and bounced out of it. We missed a few shots, but kept our heads. Good for us. We needed one of those.”
It was a just a well-played game by both teams and well-officiated. Mac led 42-41 at the break and the game went back and forth the rest of the way. The Bulldogs were 13 of 27 from 3-point, while the Swedes shot 53 percent for the game, but were just 13 of 22 from the foul line as they left a lot of points on the table.
Cody Harris and Joey Habtemariam, both off the bench, scored 19 apiece to lead Bethany. The Swedes, who just a couple of weeks ago were playing for Tabor for a share of the KCAC lead, have sagged to 6-6 in the conference and 9-11 overall. They are still looking for their first win of 2017 as the new year has seen a couple of last-second losses, the other coming to Central Christian College.
The Bulldogs will host Kansas Wesleyan on Wednesday and the Swedes head to Ottawa.
Mac (87) — O’Hara 4, Rowell 2, Henson 12, Bachura 22, Raleigh 18, Crook 22, Windholz 2, Gurley 4, Butler 1.
Bethany (85) — Washington 11, Thompson 10, Larkin 2, Patrick 4, Merzwinski 16, Harris 19, Habtemariam 19, Batman 4.
• MAC WOMEN 60, BETHANY 44 — The offense took care of the first half and the defense finished the job in the second half for the Bulldogs.
Spurred on by a 7-of-15 effort from 3-point in the first half, the Bulldogs sprinted to a 37-25 lead at the break.
Mac then clamped down defensively in the third quarter to take a 19-point lead and eventually finished it off to move to 6-6 in the KCAC and 11-9 overall.
“I thought that first half was about as good of basketball on both the offensive and defensive side of the game that we’ve played,” Mac coach Gordon Reimer said. “We had some shots go in and that always makes it look better for us. Second half, we came out and we were fine, then got a little tired. But that was just a great win for us.”
The Bulldog reserves came up huge. Victoria Gonzalez led the bench brigade by leading the team with 15 points, including three first-half 3s that kick-started the offense. Also big off the bench were Brooke Racette (8 points, a couple of 3s) and Emma Van Doselaar (6 points).
Cami Richardson had an amazing defensive game as she came up with 9 steals to go along with her 10 points and 6 assists as she once again stuffed the stat sheet.
Tehya Peters came off the bench to lead Bethany with 11 points. The Swedes were just 12 of 51 from the field and 4 of 20 from 3-point after scoring 89 points last week against Saint Mary.
The loss dropped the Swedes to 3-9 in the KCAC and 5-13 overall.
Mac will be back home on Wednesday to host Kansas Wesleyan, while Bethany goes to Ottawa.
Mac (60) — Holt 6, Battle 5, Coe 7, Richardson 10, Kuhn 3, Van Doselaar 6, Racette 8, Gonzalez 15.
Bethany (44) — Lindshield 4, Wong 2, Ashihda 8, Miller 2, Favors 3, Meinke 3, Ahaneku 5, Peters 11, Burdick 6.