The Bethel College men’s basketball team gave up a big run in the first half and another in the second left a Thresher comeback short, falling to Kansas Wesleyan 76-73 Wednesday in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.

The loss was Bethel’s sixth straight, falling to 13-14, 8-13 in KCAC play. The Coyotes improve to 16-9, 14-7 in KCAC play. The win was the fifth straight for KWU.

The two teams split in the regular season with the road team winning each time.

“This is the same situation we have been in — a bad first half where we didn’t share the ball like we needed to,” Bethel coach Jayson Artaz said. “In general in the first half, offensively we were very soft. We got back on our heels. They were more aggressive than we were. In the second half, when we were aggressive and driving the ball downhill, we were scoring. We weren’t forcing things. We were moving the ball. In the first half, we tried to do too much ourselves and that’s not going to win many games.”

Both teams shot 46 percent from the field and about 41 to 42 percent from 3-point range. Bethel was hampered by nine of 19 free throw shooting while KWU was 15 of 26.

“Forty-seven percent from the line,” Artaz said. “You think if you make some free throws, you win the game and are feeling pretty good about it. The difference between winning and losing is so small, it’s almost scary. It’s the difference of a few things here or there. We shoot 60 percent and we win the game.”

Leading 5-2, Bethel gave up an 11-0 run. Bethel got within three late in the half, but turnovers allowed KWU to get out by 13 at the half, 36-23.

Bethel was outscored 18-7 in the final 8:27 of the half. Bethel had 14 turnovers in the half to 10 for the Coyotes. Bethel hit just nine of 23 from the field.

Bethel drew within five in the first six minute of the second half. KWU replied with a 13-3 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers.

The Coyotes led by as many as 19 down the stretch. Bethel cut it to 10, missing chances to get closer until a Terrell Marshall three point play with 1:46 to play got the Threshers within nine. KWU replied with three of six free throws.

A Garrett White trey got Bethel within six with 34.4 seconds remaining. A Garrett White 3-pointer cut the deficit to three with 4.8 seconds to play. KWU was called for an illegal screen on the inbounds.

A Garrett White 3-pointer from NBA range just before the buzzer rimmed off.

Bethel faces sixth-ranked Southwestern at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Moundbuilders are 22-3, 18-3 in KCAC play, after an 82-74 loss to Avila. Bethel lost 81-68 to Southwestern at home.

“They have one of the best players in the conference,” Artaz said. “Cam Hunt is phenomenal. He scored 40 on us the first time. There aren’t many others in the NAIA or possibly (NCAA) Division II like him. We don’t back down from those kinds of challenges. We have to come out and play hard.”

With three games left, Bethel is in ninth place in the KCAC, one game behind Bethany. Bethany holds the tie breaker. The top eight advance to the KCAC post-season tournament.

“You look at our last six games and we’ve played five of the top six teams in the conference,” Artaz said. “We knew going into this stretch, there are no freebies. We have to find a way each night to find a way to beat a good team. We need to compete for a full 40 instead of those lapses.”

KANSAS WESLEYAN (16-9, 14-7 KCAC) — Nathaniel Leach 1-4 1-3 4, Marquis Kraemer 5-10 4-5 16, Jordan McNelly 2-8 3-7 7, Ithello Cross 1-2 0-0 2, AJ Range 3-6 6-6 12, Brayden White 2-6 0-0 5, Zach Rammelt 0-2 0-0 0, Peyton Hatter 3-3 0-1 7, James Brooks 9-16 1-4 23. TOTALS 26-57 15-26 76.

BETHEL (13-14, 8-13 KCAC) — Poe Bryant 5-10 0-0 10, Dakota Foster 1-4 2-2 4, Terrell Marshall 4-10 3-8 13, Sam Morgan 1-1 0-0 3, Ahmed Fall 2-4 0-0 4, Kiesean Weiher 1-4 2-4 4, Danen Kistner 0-0 0-0 0, Jaylon Scott 2-7 0-2 5, Greg White 1-1 0-0 2, Clifford Byrd, Jr 6-9 0-0 13, Garrett White 4-9 2-3 13, Joe Rushing 1-2 0-0 2. TOTALS 28-61 9-19 73.



Total fouls — KWU 20, BC 25. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — KWU: B.White :15.1-2h. BC: Bryant 1:03-2h. 3-point shooting — KWU 9-22 (Leach 1-2, Kraemer 2-3, McNelly 0-1, B.White 1-3, Rammelt 0-2, Hatter 1-1, Brooks 4-10), BC 8-19 (Bryant 0-1, Foster 0-1, Marshall 2-3, Morgan 1-1, Scott 1-2, Byrd, Jr 1-3, Ga.White 3-7, Rushing 0-1). Rebounds — KWU 41 (Range 7), BC 32 (Scott 10). Assists — KWU 18 (Kraemer 5), BC 12 (Marshall 8). Turnovers — KWU 23 (B.White 5), BC 19 (Bryant 3, Weiher 3). Blocked shots — KWU 3 (McNelly 1, Cross 1, Range 1), BC 4 (Weiher 2). Steals — KWU 8 (B.White 3), BC 12 (Scott 4).