STERLING — With the leading scorer not even dressed, the Bethel College men’s basketball team was able to break a two-game losing streak, stopping Sterling 84-71 Saturday night in KCAC play in Sterling.
With Dakota Foster out with an injury, freshman Jaylon Scott led Bethel with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Kiesean Weiher added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Danen Kistner scored 14 points, a career high. Poe Bryant added 11 points.
“Dakota took a hard fall in practice and got banged up a little bit,” Bethel coach Jayson Artaz said. “He might be out until Christmas would be my guess. That was a big loss not having him there. Two freshmen really stepped up. Those guys played great. Kiesean’s length around the basket really gave them problems against their zone. He got a lot of tip-ins and a lot of rebounds around the rim. With Jaylon, we’ve come to expect that from him. He’s pretty consistent as a double-double machine. He still does a great job with great leadership and a great, all-around kid. Dakota is one who really stretches the floor for us. Danen really has struggled shooting for us this year, but he’s a much better shooter than what he’s shown. He shot the ball well tonight. He was 40 percent from three tonight and that helped stretch out that zone. If they pack the paint all night, we’re going to have trouble scoring. He just came in place of Dakota with that ‘next man up’ mentality.”
“It gave us a little boost and the ability to take the next step,” Weiher said. “We have to move on to the next game, the next play and go on from there. We did it for (Foster). We just wanted it more than they did. They played great defense. They had some shots that they were able to knock down. We just wanted it more. We just have to keep it going. We have to have the same mentality or a better mentality.”
“It was ‘next man up,’” Scott said. “Losing our leading scorer is tough, but we had people like Kiesean step up and Danen step up for him. It was big (breaking the losing streak). Great teams bounce back. We stepped up and got it done. In their zone, the coach talked about attacking the lane. I was able to get into the lane in transition. We were also able to get to the free throw line. We dominated on the offensive glass.”
Sterling, 1-8 overall and 1-7 in KCAC play, was led by JaMiah Windom-Haynes with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Leye Oyatayo added 14 points and eight rebounds. Isaac Otrosky scored 14 points.
Bethel jumped out 15-8 in the first 6:15 of play. After a Sterling time out, Danen Kistner hit his second straight 3-point shot for the Threshers.
Bethel led by as many as 12 with 11:07 left in the period. The Threshers then cooled from the field, coupled with foul trouble, allowing the Warriors to close to within two on a four-point play with 1:20 left. Windom-Hayes hit a 3-pointer. Bethel was called for a foul off the ball and Oyatayo hit one of two free throws.
Scott hit a layup at the buzzer to keep Bethel up by four, 40-36.
After one of two Sterling free throws to start the second half, Bethel made a 7-0 run. Scott hit two free throws with 16:10 to put Bethel back up by 12. A Kistner trey increased the lead to 15 with just over 14 minutes in regulation. After a defensive stop, Trey Sleep hit a trey.
Bethel led by as many as 19. Sterling was able to cut it to 14. Bryant broke the Sterling run with just under nine minutes to play on a 3-pointer.
Bethel missed a chance to put the game away when up by 15 and 5:26 to play, Windom-Hayes was called for a flagrant foul. Bethel missed both free throws and failed to score on the possession. Sterling came back with a Lucas Briar 3-pointer. Scott answered for Bethel.
The Threshers finally put the dagger into Sterling on a Bryant putback with 2:50 to play, followed by five of six free throws to lead by 19.
“We really leaned on our senior leadership,” Scott said. “Sam (Morgan) and our point guard Terrell (Marshall) kept us calm and collected. We just wanted to keep playing good basketball.”
Bethel hosts Ottawa at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The Braves are 7-6, 4-3 in KCAC play, coming off an 81-76 home loss to Kansas Wesleyan.
“They have some really good bigs,” Artaz said. “They are physical. They are really good attacking the boards. We’re going to have to be a really good attacking team. Tonight was a good night to prepare for that. Sterling’s strength is at the 4 and 5 man.”
BETHEL (6-5, 3-4 KCAC) — Trey Sleep 1-3 0-0 3, Poe Bryant 5-14 0-3 11, Terrell Marshall 1-8 3-7 5, Jalal Gondal 0-1 0-0 0, Sam Morgan 2-7 3-4 8, Ahmed Fall 1-2 0-0 2, Kiesean Weiher 8-11 3-5 19, Danen Kistner 5-11 0-0 14, Jaylon Scott 6-14 8-11 22, Greg White 0-2 0-0 0, Clifford Byrd, Jr 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 29-73 17-30 84.
STERLING (1-8, 1-7 KCAC) — Keyshawn McMahon 2-13 2-2 6, Rylee Hayes 1-6 2-2 4, Kenan Comley 1-3 0-0 2, Brondrick Bell 2-5 3-4 7, Lucas Briar 1-2 0-0 3, JaMiah Windom-Haynes 4-10 9-14 18, Keith Price 1-2 0-0 2, Christian Ohler 0-1 0-0 0, Leye Oyatayo 4-9 5-7 14, Trey Dubbert 0-1 0-0 0, Sean Nordberg 0-4 0-0 0, Isaac Ostrosky 5-7 0-0 14, Tyler Thiessen 0-0 1-2 1, Darius Stewart 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21-63 22-31 71.
Total fouls — BC 22, SC 24. Technical fouls — SC: Windom-Hayes 5:24-2h, Oyatayo 3:23-2h. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — BC 9-33 (Sleep 1-3, Bryant 1-5, Marshall 0-4, Gondal 0-1, Morgan 1-4, Kistner 4-10, Scott 2-5, White 0-1), SC 7-19 (McMahon 0-3, Hayes 0-2, Bell 0-1, Briar 1-1, Windom-Haynes 1-2, Price 0-1, Oyatayo 1-1, Nordberg 0-2, Ostrosky 4-6). Rebounds — BC 46 (Scott 11), SC 45 (Windom-Haynes 10). Assists — BC 16 (Marshall 6), SC 10 (Comley 4). Turnovers — BC 15 (Bryant 5), SC 15 (Windom-Haynes 3, Dubbert 3). Blocked shots — BC 7 (Bryant 2, Scott 2), SC 1 (Nordberg 1). Steals — BC 5 (Marshall 2), SC 6 (Windom-Haynes 3).