The winless Bethel College Threshers were the perfect KCAC basketball opener for McPherson College’s men here Thursday night.
Except for the Bulldogs’ four-minute sleepwalk at the start when they were down 8-0, they totally dominated the Threshers for a stress-free 92-54 rout.
“Obviously you like to start out conference play with a win,” Bulldog coach Tim Swartzendruber said. “It’s something we haven’t done the last couple of years. It’s a good way to start.”
Down 15-14 with 9 minutes left in the first half, the Bulldogs awoke from their doldrums to finish strong with a 27-10 run to lead 41-25 at the break.
Bethel, now 0-7 overall, threw couple of faint jabs, getting as close as 11, but then Mac went on a tear to pull away, as the Threshers helped out with some ill-advised shot selection and were defenseless on the inside since they didn’t have the height or bulk to bang with the Bulldogs.
Mac, improving to 7-4 overall, shot 55 percent for the game, including 5 of 8 from 3-point by Samson Shivers (pictured), who finished with 19 points to tie Brian Johnson for team honors. Joey Powers added 17 and Devirous Johnson continued to be a king-sized force inside with 12 points and 16 rebounds, which no doubt keeps him No. 1 in the nation in that category.
The Bulldogs shared the ball extremely well with 24 assists on 36 baskets.
“Since the beginning of the season we’ve had great chemistry,” Swartzendruber said. “We had some really nice passes.”
Robbie Wright led the Threshers with 11 points. Bethel was without McPherson High standout Cody Cape, who injured his knee last Saturday against Central Christian College and will be out the rest of the season.
Bethel was miserable both from the field (32 percent) and the foul line (9 of 20, 45 percent). It also was pounded on the backboards as the Bulldogs gobbled up 50 rebounds to just 33 for the Threshers.
The Bulldogs have a huge game coming up Saturday when they play at defending KCAC champion Saint Mary. The Spires outlasted Southwestern 79-76 in their conference opener Thursday.
The last time the teams met in Leavenworth, the Bulldogs upset the Spires in the first round of the KCAC Tournament, which began a magical run as they made nationals despite being a No. 8 seed.
Mac (92) — Powers 17, D. Johnson 12, Shivers 19, B. Johnson 19, Grant 9, DeRoo 8, Woods 4, Bevan 4.
Bethel (54) — Packard 4, Jones 9, Wright 11, Ellis 5, Hill 2, Kingsley 3, Hett 5, Hope-Ezeigbo 10, Canady 5.