Coaches always talk about the first five minutes of the second half.

That was the span that did the Bethel College men’s basketball team in during a 97-86 loss to Friends Saturday in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.

Up by one at the half, the Threshers gave up a run to start the second half and never recovered. Bethel was outscored 29-13 from the free throw line and had 18 turnovers.

“We gave up six straight possessions where they scored to start the second half,” Bethel coach Tony Hoops said. “We traded baskets after that, but we never really recovered from it. That was the ultimate difference in the game. We have to be better on defense. As coaches, we have to get them in better position. As players, they need to stay on them better.”

Jordan Murdock led Friends with 38 points and nine rebounds, hitting 14 of 15 from the free throw line. E.J. Garnes scored 19 points. Atir Cherne and Tanner Sloan each scored 16 points. Murdock was named KCAC offensive player of the week for his effort.

Friends improves to 4-3, 2-0 in KCAC play.

“Murdock is a good player and is going to get his points,” Hoops said. “What hurt us more than anything else is their point guard had a really nice game, probably his best game of the year. Part of that was our defensive scheme. Part of that was their offensive poise in the second half.”

Chase Bannister scored 26 points with nine rebounds for Bethel. Joe Rushing scored 23 points. Bannister posted his career high in both scoring and rebounds.

Bethel fell behind 11-4, but replied with a 19-4 run of its own. Bethel led by as many as 10. Friends tied it on a Murdock 3-pointer with 2:59 to play. Cherne hit two free throws with 42.4 seconds remaining to put Friends back in the lead. Bethel replied with a Bannister putback to put the Threshers ahead 42-41 at intermission.

Bethel was outscored 12-4 to open the second half, aided by Thresher turnovers and fouls. Fouls were 6-2 against Bethel in the 4:35 span. After a Bethel time out, Cherne hit a trey.

Bethel was able to get as close a five, missing several chances to draw closer. A Tucker Thompson shot put Friends back up by 10 with 7:53 to play. Bethel answered with a Maurice Jordan trey, but Friends came back with two baskets off turnovers.

Bethel made a run to draw within four with 3:02 to play. A pair of Murdock free throws sparked a 6-0 Friends run to put the game out of reach.

“We panicked a little bit on offense, but we still scored 80-some points,” Hoops said. “We can’t give up 90 points and expect to win games.”

Bethel drops to 2-5, 1-1 in KCAC play. Bethel hosts Southwestern at 8 p.m. today. The Moundbuilders are 8-0, 2-0 in KCAC play, after a 97-77 win over Sterling. Bethel plays a pair of NCAA Division II schools – Colorado Christian and Colorado School of Mines — Friday and Saturday in exhibition games in Golden, Colo.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Hoops said. “We have to be ready to go Tuesday. We’re playing better than we were two weeks ago. Southwestern is a good basketball team. I’m anxious to see how we step up and respond. We’re going to play aggressive. We’ll find out what our character is and where our defense is at. We’ll play two exhibitions out in Denver. That’s a good opportunity for us to be able to improve as a team. We can get better in practice, but we can get better on the court.”

FRIENDS (4-3, 2-0 KCAC) — Jordan Murdock 11-20 14-15 38, Atir Cherne 3-8 8-9 16, Malik Norris 0-0 0-0 0, Josh Mann 0-2 0-0 0, Zion Fralin 1-5 3-4 5, Tanner Sloan 7-9 1-2 16, EJ Garnes 8-14 2-2 19, Tucker Thompson 1-4 1-2 3, Mykeyeus Woods 0-1 0-0 0, Add New Player 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 31-64 29-34 97.

BETHEL (2-5, 1-1 KCAC) — Chase Banister 8-17 6-9 26, Maurice Jordan 3-9 0-1 7, David Harris 3-7 0-0 8, Joe Rushing 8-13 3-4 23, Poe Bryant 2-5 0-0 4, Trey Sleep 1-1 0-0 2, Sam Morgan 1-2 2-2 4, Layton Leydig 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Dakota Foster 2-3 1-2 7, Terrell Marshall 2-4 1-4 5. Totals 30-62 13-22 86.

Friends;41;56;—97

Bethel;42;44;—86

Total fouls — Fr. 18, BC 26. Technical fouls — Fr.: bench 5:13-1h. BC: Foster 15:25-2h. Fouled out — BC: Bryant 2:45-2h. 3-point shooting — Fr. 6-15 (Chase Banister 8-17 6-9 26, Maurice Jordan 3-9 0-1 7, David Harris 3-7 0-0 8, Joe Rushing 8-13 3-4 23, Poe Bryant 2-5 0-0 4, Trey Sleep 1-1 0-0 2, Sam Morgan 1-2 2-2 4, Layton Leydig 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Dakota Foster 2-3 1-2 7, Terrell Marshall 2-4 1-4 5. Totals 30-62 13-22 86), BC 13-29 (Chase Banister 8-17 6-9 26, Maurice Jordan 3-9 0-1 7, David Harris 3-7 0-0 8, Joe Rushing 8-13 3-4 23, Poe Bryant 2-5 0-0 4, Trey Sleep 1-1 0-0 2, Sam Morgan 1-2 2-2 4, Layton Leydig 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Dakota Foster 2-3 1-2 7, Terrell Marshall 2-4 1-4 5. Totals 30-62 13-22 86). Rebounds — Fr. 37 (Murdock 9), BC 35 (Murdock 9). Assists — Fr. 13 (Garnes 6), BC 14 (Marshall 4). Turnovers — Fr. 8 (Murdock 3), BC 18 (Bannister 4). Blocked shots — Fr. 2 (Cherne 1, Garnes 1), BC 3 (Morgan 1, Foster 1). Steals — Fr. 8 (Garnes 4), BC 2 (Banister 1, Bryant 1).