LINDSBORG — Bethany College’s men tip-toed around a potential land mine on Wednesday, outlasting upset-minded Sterling College 75-62 at Hahn Gym.
The victory kept the Swedes in a three-way tie for third place in the KCAC with Saint Mary and Southwestern at 6-3, with Tabor and Friends still on top at 7-2 in what has developed into a five-team race.
The Warriors, coming off an upset of Tabor, had the Swedes down 31-27 at the half, but Bethany caught fire to pile up 48 second-half points.
Super sub Jonathan Gidson filled his sixth-man role to perfection as he supplied 22 points to ignite the Swedes. Larry McLin had a terrific game with 16 points and a surprising 11 rebounds from his guard spot. Cody Harris added 15 points.
Braden Thompson led Sterling with 19.
“We defended better tonight with energy, intensity and toughness, which helped us overcome horrendous shooting the first 25-30 minutes,” Bethany coach Clair Oleen said. “We got great shots off good offensive execution most of the night, we just were not knocking them down until well into the second half. I was impressed with our offensive resolve, sustained confidence and trust in each other as we continued to execute and share the ball, finally working through the shooting drought and then we took off from there."
Bethany is now 14-6 overall and will have revenge on its mind Saturday when it travels to McPherson College. The Bulldogs went into Hahn Gym for the KCAC opener last month and sprang a 104-101 upset.
Bethany (75) — McLin 16, Harris 15, Smith 6, Peterson 5, Coleman 5, Gidson 22, Huskey 6.
Sterling (62) — Thompson 19, Givens 9, Stacker 6, Gardner 2, Oyatayo 10, Swank 8, Smith 4, Starks 4.
• STERLING WOMEN 70, BETHANY 65 — The Swedes finished the first round of KCAC play 0-9, but they have been much more competitive recently.
The Swedes stayed right with Sterling, but it was Smoky Valley graduate Lori Dauer who was the difference as she scored 15 points and yanked down 12 rebounds.
Adriane Davis and Royce Shields led the Swedes with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Bethany is now 1-20 overall, but has a great chance for its first KCAC win on Saturday when it plays at McPherson College, which is 2-19 on the year. The Bulldogs won the first meeting between the teams after Bethany had led nearly the entire game.
Sterling (70) — Dauer 15, Faul 12, Davis 11, Greer 6, Stagner 6, Santos 8, Waters 7, Strobel 3, Sullen 2.
Bethany (65) — Davis 16, Shields 15, Davis 9, Ahaneku 4, Shetlar 4, Chanco 8, Jackson 6, Cleveland 2, Norton 1.