YORK, Neb. — The team many thought to be the sleeper of the KCAC Men’s Basketball Tournament nearly lived up to the hype.
Seventh-seeded Bethany put a mighty scare into No. 2 York on Wednesday, but the Panthers avoided a third loss to the Swedes this season by winning when it mattered most, 99-97.
Bethany ended its season with a 14-17 record even though it had as much talent as any team in the conference.
York moves on to host Ottawa, which stunned Saint Mary 81-79 on the Spires’ home court.
Also, Oklahoma Wesleyan nearly pulled off a shocker as it took No. 1 seed Tabor into overtime before losing 92-91. Southwestern, as expected, took care of Friends, 77-69. Those two winners play on Saturday in Hillsboro.
Bethany trailed York by 15 at the half, but charged back in the wildly entertaining game. The Swedes actually had the lead 97-96 late, but a field goal by All-KCAC first-team selection Cameron Coleman gave the Panthers the lead for good. Coleman led York with 26 points.
Tyler Larkin topped Bethany with 24 points and Joey Habtemariam scored 19. Cody Harris (13), Khalid Washington (12) and Ian Merzwinski (12) all hit for double figures.
Lark and Washington will both be back for the Swedes next year as they have some nice building blocks to the future.