The Bethany men’s basketball team came away with arguably its biggest win of the Dan O’Dowd era on Monday night, with a 74-70 upset win over No. 16 Oklahoma Wesleyan.
The first half of the game did not have a ton of flow or rhythm, as neither team shot the ball well or played a flawless half of basketball. The 16th ranked team in the land would grab the lead early and quickly build a double-digit advantage.
Justin Jones, the KCAC’s top scorer, would do all he could do in the first half to keep the Swedes in it as the Senior from South Carolina poured in 12 points in the half. However, the cold shooting Swedes weren’t effective enough offensively and dug themselves a 30-16 hole just before halftime.
However, the Swedes ended the first half on a 6-0 run to pull within eight at the break, 30-22.
That run seemed to spark Bethany and give them confidence in the second half.
Although Bethany got down 37-26 to start the second half, the Swedes immediately countered with a 13-0 run, led by the offense of Jones and Ray Miller. The run finally gave Bethany its first lead, 39-37, still early in the second half.
Oklahoma Wesleyan would immediately answer, though. The second unit of the Eagles flipped the switch and immediately found a double-digit lead once again with an 11-0 run to appear to regain control around the 10 minute mark of the second half.
Bethany continued to battle and chip away at the lead. Jones continued to knock in big three point shots, Miller continued to play good defense and get points by penetration and Baptist Chazelas was a beast on the board grabbing crucial rebounds.
The Swedes would finally grab the lead on a thunderous tomahawk dunk by Miller late in the game that brought the crowd at Hahn Gym to life.
Bethany then sealed the upset win by making clutch free-throws down the stretch to keep OKWU at arm’s length.
Oklahoma Wesleyan (15-5, 10-4 KCAC) saw its five-game winning streak snapped on Monday in Lindsborg. The Eagles shot just 27% from three and were led by Ke’Von Boston with 12 points. Both Janson Lietzke and Valentin Van Putten tallied in 11 points, each, while Kaleb Stokes had 10.
Bethany (9-10, 5-10 KCAC) outscored OKWU 52-40 in the second half after only having 22 at halftime.
Jones led the way once again with 30 points. Miller had 15 big points and Isiah Saenz had 12 in the win.
Up next, Bethany travels to first place, No. 7 Ottawa.
Oklahoma Wesleyan 72, (RV) BETHANY WOMEN 67
The upset in the men’s game wasn’t the only shocker on the night in Lindsborg as the Oklahoma Wesleyan women stunned Bethany to snap the Swedes eight-game winning streak on the night’s first game.
OKWU got out in front early led by hot shooting from three to gain control. After a mini Bethany rally in the second quarter, the Lady Eagles led 29-27 at halftime.
Bethany came out in a rhythm in the second half as the Swedes surged in front for the first time since the first quarter with a seven point advantage at one point in the quarter. However, OKWU ended the quarter on a 7-0 run of its own to tie the game 50-50 going in to the final period.
The fourth quarter was a close game as neither team could gain control until an 8-0 run by Oklahoma Wesleyan, led by a long two sandwiched in between two three’s that blew the lid off of the game.
Bethany would get back to within one in the final minute, but missed free-throws and layups plagued the Swedes in its first loss in over a month.
Oklahoma Wesleyan (11-9, 7-7 KCAC) converted 13 three’s on Monday. Danae Goodwin and Nicole Ickes both led the way for the Eagles with 16 points, each. Essence Tolson scored 11 and Brittan Garrett tallied in 10 points in the upset victory.
Bethany (14-6, 11-4 KCAC) saw its eight game winning streak come to an end. The Swedes were swept in the season series by OKWU.
Autumn Garrett led Bethany with 17 points in the win, the only scorer in double-figures, as the Swedes were just 13-23 from the foul line for the game.
Bethany plays next on this coming Thursday at Ottawa and historic Wilson Fieldhouse. Tip time is at 6 p.m. on Salina radio station, 95.5 The Rock.