McPherson College men’s basketball coach Tim Swartzendruber told his team on Monday that this is “Revenge Week.”
And it started on Wednesday at the Sport Center when the Bulldogs avenged an earlier loss to Bethel in rousing fashion, 80-61.
Mac outscored Bethel 27-17 over the final 10 minutes to seal the deal, after going through a stretch of games where it led late, only to somehow let it get away.
The Bulldogs snapped a four-game losing streak and are now 3-8 in the KCAC. They are in the eighth and final playoff spot at current time, with Bethel and Kansas Wesleyan a game back.
Mac plays Saturday at Kansas Wesleyan as it tries to complete its revenge week and open up some breathing room. The Bulldogs were stunned at home by the Coyotes last month.
Wednesday’s game was one of the best team efforts in a long time as it recorded 21 assists. While Darius Hill was an unstoppable monster with 30 points and 13 rebounds, it was performances by unheralded Louis Parker III, Kyle Lakin and Derek Bevan that were surprises.
Parker, undersized for an inside player at 6-2, scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench. Lakin may have had his best game in three years as a Bulldog as he didn’t miss a shot from the field or the line and scored 11 off the bench. Bevan, making a rare start, provided early energy and grabbed eight rebounds.
All in all, a good night in the eyes of Swartzendruber.
“We see some of that (good play) in practice every day,” he said. “I think the frustration has been that we just haven’t put a full game together. The most positive thing to me is that when Bethel made that run in the second half, we finally stepped up and made a few baskets in the second half.”
This was a wire-to-wire game as Mac never trailed. It was up 38-24 at the half, but scoring machine Adam Arciniega fueled a Thresher rally that pulled them as close as four. But back-to-back putbacks by Parker pushed it back out to eight and a later 8-0 run gave the Bulldogs their first non-stress finish in a long time.
TJ Grant had a big second half for the Bulldogs and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. With Parker and Lakin chipping in, the Bulldogs had four players in double figures.
Arciniega scored 20 for the Threshers, but needed 19 shots to do it. Rodney Hill added 10.
Mac takes a 7-16 overall record to Salina on Saturday.
Mac (80) — Hill 30, Bevan 2, Henson 6, Grant 16, Crook 3, Lakin 11, Parker 12.
Bethel (61) — Alford 6, Kingsley 8, Goodwin 7, Arciniega 20, Hill 10, Long 2, Miller 8.