The Bethel College men’s basketball team saw their already slim post-season hopes dashed with a 67-61 loss to Ottawa Wednesday night in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.

Ottawa, 11-3 overall and 10-9 in KCAC play, locks up the eighth and final KCAC post-season tournament berth. The Braves have a shot at moving up into the top four, receiving a first-round home game.

“That was a really ugly basketball game,” Bethel coach Tony Hoops said. “I don’t want to speak for Ottawa, but both of those teams are better than what they showed. Credit Ottawa for finding a way to win. They made plays down the stretch. They played with more energy and passion. The most disappointing this is we pride ourselves on being winners on a routine basis, having an expectation of success every game. For the first time all season, we allowed our record to define us. We’ve lost a lot of close ones, but that doesn’t excuse that effort tonight.”

Hollis Mitchell led the Braves with 17 points. Titus Rice scored 13. Tasmania Indiana Jones and Jake Hansen each scored 10.

Joe Rushing scored 23 points to lead Bethel. Poe Bryant came off the bench with 11. Sam Morgan scored 10 points with 13 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Bethel was outshot 47.3 percent to 33.8 percent. Bethel was just two of 12 from the line.

“That’s a lack of focus and concentration,” Hoops said. “It’s a mental approach. That stat there was a direct reflection of our body language throughout the game.”

Bethel struggled from the field early, trailing 18-10. Bethel got back within one, only to give up another run and trail by as many as two, only to give up a 6-0 run, leading 32-24 at the half.

Bethel was 11 of 37 shooting in the first half for 29.7 percent.

Ottawa scored the first basket of the second half. Rushing countered with an 8-0 run, hitting two treys and a short jumper. A Morgan putback tied the game with 15:31 in regulation to tie the game. Bethel then gave up a trey and a layup off a steal to spark a 7-0 Braves run. Ottawa got out by 11. Bethel got it back to within five.

A Rushing trey with 3:32 got Bethel to within three. A Hollis trey got Ottawa back out by seven with under two minutes to play. Rushing replied with a trey. Rice then hit a trey for Ottawa as the shot clock expired with 56.9 seconds remaining.

Rushing hit a trey with 39 seconds left. Mitchell countered with two free throws eight seconds later. Bethel missed a pair of shots in the remaining time.

Bethel plays at 5 p.m. Saturday at York College. The Panthers are 14-12, 11-8 in conference play after a 95-92 overtime loss to McPherson at home, snapping a three-game winning streak. Bethel beat York 84-74 Jan. 3 at Bethel. The Panthers are three games out of first with three games remaining.

“I told them, ‘What do you want to be defined as? What do you want this community to define you as these last three games?’” Hoops said. “Tonight, we didn’t define ourselves as anything. That game was embarrassing. York is a good basketball team. They are playing well. They have a good home court advantage. We’ve proven ourselves against them. We’ve beaten them once. We’re going to find ourselves over the next two days and finish the season the right way, one way or another.”

OTTAWA (11-13, 10-9 KCAC) — Tag Oldham 0-1 0-0 0, Jake Hansen 4-7 0-0 10, Hollis Mitchell 6-13 2-4 17, Titus Rice 5-8 1-2 13, Alex Greisen 2-7 0-0 4, Isaiah Palmer 2-5 2-2 6, Jakob Neidig 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson Mallory 1-3 0-2 3, Tasmania Indaiana Jones 5-6 0-1 10, Mason McDow 1-5 2-2 4. TOTALS 26-55 7-13 67.

BETHEL (7-19, 5-14 KCAC) — Chase Banister 1-10 1-3 3, Maurice Jordan 2-9 0-0 6, Joe Rushing 9-16 0-0 23, Poe Bryant 5-10 1-2 11, Trey Sleep 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Morgan 5-9 0-0 10, Dakota Foster 2-8 0-0 6, Terrell Marshall 1-9 0-7 2, Quinten Gutierrez 0-3 0-0 0. TOTALS 25-74 2-12 61.



Total fouls — OU 15, BC 14. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — OU 8-26 (Hansen 2-5, Mitchell 3-7, Rice 2-4, Greisen 0-3, Palmer 0-2, Mallory 1-3, McDow 0-2), BC 9-36 (Banister 0-4, Jordan 2-8, Rushing 5-11, Bryant 0-1, Morgan 0-2, Foster 2-7, Marshall 0-1, Gutierrez 0-2). Rebounds — OU 41 (Palmer 8), BC 37 (Morgan 13). Assists — OU 19 (Mitchell 5), BC 16 (Rushing 4, Marshall 4). Turnovers — OU 22 (Mitchell 4, Palmer 4), BC 10 (Rushing 3). Blocked shots — OU 2 (Palmer 1, McDow 1), BC 4 (Foster 4). Steals — OU 4 (Mitchell 1, Rice 1, Neidig 1, Jones 1), BC 12 (Banister 4).