SALINA — If the Bethany College men are to win the KCAC basketball championship, they must take care of business against second-division teams.
For a while Thursday at Mabee Arena, it appeared they weren’t going to do that.
The Swedes needed an 18-7 run to finish the game to rally past the upset-minded Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes 90-85 in the renewal of what is considered the KCAC’s best rivalry.
“We would make runs, get 8-11 point leads, and then experience some letdowns,” BC coach Clair Oleen said. “We need to do away with those stretches where we get away from doing the things that send us on great runs. In the end, though, these guys showed resolve and toughness in making plays at both ends of the floor to get the job done."
Bethany now shares the KCAC lead with Saint Mary, Tabor and Friends at 4-1.
KW actually led 78-72 with 5 minutes to go, but Bethany clamped down on the defensive end the rest of the way, giving up just seven points.
KW had no answer for BC’s Cody Harris, who scored 30 points, though he was just 9 of 25 from the field. Larry McLin scored 17, Jonathan Gidson came off the bench for 13 and Nathan Coleman scored 12.
Jacob Lunz led KW with 26 points.
Bethany has a big game coming up Saturday when Friends invades Hahn Gym in Lindsborg.
Bethany (90) — McLin 17, Harris 30, Coleman 12, Smith 7, Huskey 6, Peterson 5, Gidson 13.
KW (85) — Long 4, Lunz 26, M. Johnson 12, Hildalgo 11, D. Johnson 16, Criswell 6, Moss 6, Price 4.
• KW women 91, Bethany 61 — The Swedes remain winless in the KCAC at 0-5 and are 1-16 overall after losing their ninth straight.
The Coyotes had runs of 8-0 and 10-0 in the first half to bury the Swedes 46-29 and steadily stretched the lead after the break.
Adriane Davis led BC with 17 points and Tiffani Jackson added 10. Kora Bergstrom led KW with 17 points.
Bethany hosts KCAC leader Friends on Saturday.
Bethany (61) — Ahaneku 2, Davis 17, Shields 7, Shetlar 4, Stewart 5, Cleveland 4, Gamboa 3, Norton 5, Jackson 10, Davis 1, Rohrbaugh 3.
KW (91) — Kresin 14, Heim 15, Steinele 12, LeShore 8, Johnson 3, Wilson 4, Pfeiffer 5, Farris 7, Bergstrom 17, Kirchoff 3, Hula 3.