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KWU Men Shoot Past Rival Swedes

Mike Hammett - February 15, 2014 9:48 pm

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Kansas Wesleyan’s men’s basketball team used a hot shooting night and clutch free throws down the stretch to pick up their first win at Bethany since 2009 with a 91-81 victory over the arch-rival Swedes on Saturday at Hahn Gymnasium in Lindsborg.

Kansas Wesleyan started hot, leading 7-2 out of the gate on six points from Jacob Lunz. Bethany then caught fire, surging into the lead on an 8-0 spurt, getting all eight points from Kirby Hawkins, taking a 16-12 lead.

The Coyotes tied the game at 16 on back-to-back buckets by freshmen Braxton Stein and Dominique Johnson. With the game tied at 18, Bethany went on an 11-1 run to go up 10 at 29-19 on a basket by Hawkins.

Wesleyan would respond from downtown. The Coyotes hit their next five three pointers to go in front. Garret Pasold and Chase Owen each hit two in the sequence, with Owen putting the Coyotes on top 34-32 with 3:13 left.

The lead would change hands four more times down the stretch of the half, but the Coyotes managed to tie the game back up at halftime on a tip-in by Braxton Stein in the waning seconds. The game was knotted at 40 at the break.

In the second half, Kansas Wesleyan’s hot shooting continued. Down 45-42, the Coyotes hit four straight threes, two by Brinker, to spark a 14-2 run, taking a 56-47 lead with 16:34 left. Wesleyan would never trail again.

Bethany would cut the Coyote lead to two at 56-54 on a basket by Idris Idris with 15:36 remaining, but Wesleyan answered with a three by Borovetz and a basket by Stein to lead 61-54.

Wesleyan led 65-58 when Bethany went on a 6-0 spurt to close within one at 65-64 on a three by Hawkins with 12:47 remaining. The Coyotes would cling to the lead until Bethany tied the game at 69 on a free throw by Vincent Roybal with 10:59 left.

Wesleyan reclaimed the lead on a three-point play by Lunz with 10:38 left, and Bethany was never any closer the rest of the way. Lunz’s play sparked a 9-1 run, giving the Coyotes a 78-70 lead on free throws by Michael Johnson with 5:52 remaining.

Bethany would get within four at 80-76 with 3:26 left, but the Coyotes, instead of collapsing down the stretch, answered. The Coyotes scored the next seven points, including a clutch three by Michael Johnson with 2:51 left. Bethany cut the deficit to seven at 88-81 with 40 seconds left, but the Swedes were held off the board the rest of the way as the Coyotes picked up the win.

Jacob Lunz led the Coyotes with 14 points, while Michael Johnson and Braxton Stein had 12 each and Dane Brinker and Brock Borovetz added 10 apiece. Idris led Bethany with 30 points while Kirby Hawkins had 19.

The Coyotes are now 5-21 overall and 3-13 in the KCAC. Bethany drops to 18-9, 11-5 in the league.

Kansas Wesleyan visits Bethel on Thursday. Pregame coverage is at 5:50 with tipoff at 6 for the women and 8 for the men on Classic Hits 104.9 and online at 1049classichits.com.

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