DENVER — What a weekend and what a month for the Bethany College men’s basketball team.
The Swedes completed a 6-0 December and ran their overall winning streak to eight over the weekend with two impressive wins in the Johnson and Wales Classic.
On Friday, the Swedes outscored Northern New Mexico, 93-85.
Bethany had to overcome a 43-38 halftime deficit.
Balance was the key as Idris Ibin Idris led four Swedes in double figures with 24 points. Jordan Bieberle followed with 18, Vincent Roybal furnished 16 and Kirby Hawkins added 13.
“We had to come from behind against a good team," Bethany coach Clair Oleen said. "First half we lacked mental toughness and aggressiveness, allowing NNMC to play well. We rebounded better and we were more assertive and tougher the second half."
On Saturday, the Swedes were involved in another offensive slugfest, but Johnson and Wales learned it’s pretty tough to outscore the Swedes as Bethany came away with a 90-80 triumph.
Ibin Idris went off for 35 points, Roybal continued his recent surge with 22 and Dwight Abad, normally the assist man, looked more for his shot and scored 18.
"We played respectable the first half except for our rebounding," Oleen said. "Second half we were very lethargic, though we did dominate the boards."
The Swedes are now 10-3 overall. They travel to the Bahama House Classic at Embry Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Fla. on Jan. 3-4. The Swedes take on Central Christian College of McPherson on Friday, Jan. 3, at 5 p.m.
• SWEDE WOMEN GO 0-2 — The Bethany women didn’t fare as well in Denver, going 0-2 in a pair of games with Johnson and Wales, which in itself is an oddity.
Johnson and Wales won 95-86 on Friday despite 26 points by Alex Brammer and 21 more by Ashley Carey. Vickie Dolan added 18.
On Saturday, the Swedes were defeated by J & W, 90-71. Brammer, Kendra Austin and Afton Lutters all scored nine points for the Swedes.
Bethany is now 2-12 overall and plays Jan. 3-4 in the Kansas Wesleyan Classic. It plays Peru State on Jan. 3 and Doane College on Jan. 4.