Wichita, Kan. – The Bethany College Men’s Basketball team held the lead for just twenty-one seconds on Wednesday night, luckily they were the final twenty-one seconds of the game as the Swedes capped a 14 point comeback to walk out of the gym with a 66-63 victory over the Friends Falcons.
Dylan Smith, sophomore guard would tie the game at 2 with 17:52 to play in the first half on a driving layup. Friends would sink three free throws to go up 5-2 before Zack Fields, senior guard, cut the lead to one on a nifty finish in the lane around a Friends defender. From there the Falcons would go on a 10-0 run to pull ahead 15-4 with 11:54 to go in the half. Fields would then go to work on mounting a comeback. He scored on an and one and then followed with another driving basket to pull Bethany within six at 15-9. The Falcons would make a pair of free throws before Nic Slavin, junior guard, was able to get out in transition and finish to pull Bethany back to within six. Friends would score five straight before Malcolm Clayton, junior guard, converted on a transition basket followed by an Isiah Saenz, senior guard, floater to make it 22-15. The Falcons would use another 5-0 run to stretch the lead to 27-15. Isiah Saenz would then hit a three pointer to pull within nine but Friends would convert free throws to go back up by eleven. Zack Fields would then find Nic Slavin in the corner off of a baseline drive for a Bethany triple. Slavin would get fouled on the shot and sink the free throw to make it 29-22. The Falcons would score on their next possession but Nic Slavin would get fouled on shot and convert both free throws to pull back to within seven. Dylan Smith would end a 5-0 Friends run with a layup with 3:33 to go in the half. The Falcons would get the ball inside to Elijah Conley on their next possession to go up 38-26. Jalen Washington, junior guard, would sink a free throw line jumper after setting his man up with a crossover to make it 38-28. Friends would go inside again to Conley to take a 40-28 halftime lead.
Coming out of the locker room Friends would push the lead to fourteen as Davonte Pack knocked down a midrange jumper. Isiah Saenz would hit a three for the Swedes to pull within eleven at 42-31. Following a Friends basket Dylan Smith would score four straight on a pair of driving layups through the Falcons defense to make it 44-35. The Falcons would score five straight to push the lead back to fourteen at 49-35. Malcolm Clayton would connect on a midrange jumper to cut the deficit to 12 with 14:27 to go. Isiah Saenz would shake free for a floater to make it 49-39 before Jalen Behr, sophomore forward, followed up an offensive rebound to pull Bethany within eight. Ian Konek would split a pair of free throws for Friends on their next possession before Jalen Behr was able to get out in transition for two more Bethany points to make it 50-43. Davonte Pack would sink a free throw and then Malcolm Clayton would score to make it 51-45. Friends would then convert an and one to go up 54-45. Malcolm Clayton would score again for the Swedes and Dalton Smyres would follow it up with a thunderous jam in transition to cut the Falcons lead to five with 6:47 to go. Ian Konek would answer with a three for the Falcons to go up eight. Jalen Washington would split on a pair of free throws to pull within seven before the Falcons scored inside to go up 59-50. Jalen Behr would find his way to the hoop for two to cut the Falcons lead to seven with 4:43 remaining. Behr would then knock in a pair of free throws to bring the score to 59-54 with 2:58 on the clock. Dylan Smith would get inside for another Bethany basket to pull within three. Following a Bethany foul the Falcons would hit both free throws to go up five with 1:13 to play. At this point Dylan Smith decided to steal the game away from the Falcons. The sophomore from Stillwater, Okla. missed a three but stole the attempted outlet pass and laid it in to pull Bethany within three at 61-58. The Swedes defense then went with a full court press on the Falcons where Smith would intercept a pass near half court and drive baseline to find Isiah Saenz in the corner for three to tie the game with thirty-nine seconds to go. The Swedes elected to get back into their half-court defense where Smith harassed the Falcon’s point guard until he was able to knock the ball loose and convert a layup on the other end to give Bethany its’ first lead of the night at 63-61. The Swedes would foul the Falcons with twelve seconds remaining after Friends hit the first free throw they missed the second but Jalen Washington would get the rebound for the Swedes and be fouled. The junior would calmly sink both free throws to make it 65-62. Bethany would then foul with three seconds remaining Friends would hit the first and tried to intentionally miss the second but were called for a violation. The Falcons would foul Jalen Washington after he received the inbounds pass and he’d split the free throws to make it 66-63 to cap off the Swedes comeback.
Dylan Smith led the Swedes in scoring with 14 points while Isiah Saenz finished with 13 on the night. Smith and Zack Fields would both finish with a pair of assists to lead the Swedes in that category. Jalen Behr was the leading rebounder for Bethany with 7 while Malcolm Clayton collected 6 boards. Dylan Smith and Malcolm Clayton led the team with 3 steals apiece while Zack Fields had 2.
On the night Bethany shot 43.3% from the field and 18.2% from three. Friends finished the night at 38.5% from the field and 37.5% from three but were held to just 26.9% shooting in the second half by the Bethany defense. Both teams struggled from the foul line as Friends connected on 17-26 and the Swedes made just 10-23 on the night. The Falcons outrebounded Bethany 43-34. The Bethany defense forced Friends into 18 turnovers on the night and scored 18 points off of turnovers.
Up Next . . .
The Swedes will go to McPherson College on Saturday, January 16 to complete the season series with the Bulldogs. The KCAC matchup is set to begin at 3:00 PM.