LINDSBORG — It’s obvious that Bethany College’s men are a different basketball team with Gary Jones.
The springy 6-5 Jones, who had missed eight games because of an academic question that finally was resolved, scored the Swedes’ final eight points on Wednesday against Ottawa University, as they stunned the Braves with a late rally, 85-83. Jones had two traditional 3-point plays in his personal run.
OU led 83-77 with 2:46 left, but would never score again.
“This was a very hard-fought win at home. In the last 3 minutes we got some key stops and then came down, made plays and finished them," Bethany coach Clair Oleen said. “We battled foul trouble, we battled through guys not playing well, but these guys stuck together and trusted each other down the stretch. This team demonstrated a great will to win and showed a lot of resolve."
Jones, who was headed for first-team KCAC honors at the time of his issue, finished with 23 points and eight rebounds off the bench in 28 minutes.
The victory leaves the Swedes a game back of KCAC sole leader Tabor, which clipped Friends on Wednesday to assume possession of first at 9-2. Friends, Bethany and Saint Mary are all 8-3, while Southwestern is lurking at 7-4.
Nathan Coleman tallied 17 points for the Swedes, while Larry McLin had 13, Devin Smith 12 and Cody Harris 10.
Adam Hasty was marvelous in defeat with 32 points to lead the Braves, including a six-pack of 3-pointers. Preston Oakes had 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Marshon Norfleet scored 11. Ottawa played without 6-9 starting center Alex Lundry, out with a concussion.
The Swedes, 16-6 overall, play Saturday at Bethel.
Bethany (85) — Huskey 8, McLin 13, Harris 10, Coleman 17, Smith 12, Gidson 2, Jones 23.
Ottawa (83) — Nichols 7, Oakes 18, O’Con 6, Ad. Hasty 32, Norfleet 11, Al. Hasty 4, Falk 2, Stackhouse 3.
• BETHANY WOMEN 70, OTTAWA 69 — It had to happen sooner or later.
The Bethany College women ended their 14-game losing streak when Royce Shields scored on an old-fashioned 3-point play with 6.8 seconds left.
It was the Swedes’ first KCAC win after 11 losses and they are 2-21 overall.
Shields scored 24 points for Bethany, while Tiffani Jackson had a career night with 16 points off the bench. Adriane Davis chipped in with 13.
“I thought we were very solid offensively for the first 10 to 12 minutes, but we just didn't seem to have the same aggressiveness and energy on defense that we have had the last three or four games,” Bethany coach Brett Morehouse said. “We seemed to be losing all the 50-50 balls and we were just getting pushed around under the basket. I challenged them to play with more heart and more intensity in the second half and they responded.”
Ashley Romig powered her way to 22 points and nine rebounds to lead the Braves. It was a crushing loss for Ottawa, as it’s now 7-4 in the KCAC and probably never saw this one coming.
Bethany plays Saturday at Bethel, which was upset Wednesday by McPherson College.
Bethany (70) — Ahaneku 2, Davis 13, Shields 24, Chanco 9, Cleveland 4, Stewart 2, Jackson 16.
Ottawa (69) — Romig 22, Grammer 1, Skidmore 17, Stewart 13, Hodison 10, Strader 2, Boden 4.