Monday night’s game is one of those that Dan O’Dowd and the Bethany mens’ team will be shaking their head about.
Bethany couldn’t hold a four point lead with 40 seconds remaining, as Tabor forced the game in to overtime and eventually won, 74-63.
In front of a big crowd in Hillsboro, the Swedes would hold the lead for nearly 40 full minutes on Monday night, but never be able to land a knockout blow on the pesky Bluejays.
After a Tabor free-throw, the Swedes raced out to an 8-1 lead right out of the gate, thanks to a couple of 3-pointers. The seven point lead would be short-lived, however, as BC couldn’t muster enough offense to pull away from the Bluejays early on.
Both teams would struggle from the floor for much of the game, as Tabor missed its first eight shots from the floor. Still, the Bluejays led 15-12 late in the first half.
The cold shooting Swedes would find some offense, led by Isiah Saenz and Dylan Smith. The back-court duo would push the Bethany lead to 26-22 in the final minute of the first half. However, back-to-back Tabor buckets to end the half, sent both teams in to the locker room tied at 26-26.
The second half was much of the same. Each time the Swedes would extend a lead, Tabor would answer right back to remain within shouting distance.
Smith heated up for Bethany in the second half, as he scored 10 points in the second 20 minutes to help Bethany build a seven point lead with seven minutes to go.
The Swedes had their lead cut just one with 90 seconds remaining, though. But, it appeared at the time, that Jalen Behr had made the biggest 3 on the night–if not the season to this point–as he nailed a corner 3 with a little more than a minute remaining. The score gave Bethany a 60-56 lead.
After a Tabor bucket, Bethany just needed a few more points to close the game out. Bethany missed a shot with a little more than 40 seconds remaining but Tabor kicked the ball out of bounce to give the Swedes a new possession. However, Bethany’s stellar sophomore, Behr, was on the floor in pain from landing on what appeared to be a foot during the play. He hobbled off the floor, but never returned.
Bethany ended the possession by going 1-2 from the foul line to lead 61-58.
Tabor quickly drove the ball down the floor. A slow rotation on the BC defense allowed Tabor’s Bobby Shanks to drive, hit the bucket while being fouled and go to the line to try and tie the game with 28 seconds remaining. Shanks, a 36% foul shooter coming in to the game, was 4-10 from the line on the game, but soaked the free-throw to tie it.
Bethany had the ball for the final shot, however. The Swedes drove down the clock and had a 3-point look from Saenz at the buzzer, but it missed, sending the game to OT.
Bethany in the extra period played without Behr–who had left with an injury, Smith–who had fouled out; and midway through the OT period, Saenz–who also fouled out.
Tabor (5-3, 3-3 KCAC) would outscore Bethany 13-2 in overtime. The Bluejays hit two 3s all night, however, both came in the closing minutes of regulation and in OT. The Bluejays were led by Montel Stewart’s season-high 18 points, Nashom Carter with 16 points before fouling out and Shanks’ 13 points for their second win in-a-row.
Bethany (5-6, 4-5 KCAC) saw their two game winning streak snapped. The Swedes just could never quite pull away from the Bluejays all game. BC was led by Smith and Behr with 15 points–though, neither played in OT. Saenz tallied in 11 points before fouling out in OT as well.
Up next, both Bethany womens’ and mens’ teams play on Wednesday at Friends. Tipoff times are at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, on 95.5 The Rock.