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Thresher men toughen up defense in second half

Mark Schnabel
mschnabel@thekansan.com
Bethel junior Tavughn Flowers defends York's Tyreece Berry during play Tuesday at Thresher Gym. Bethel plays Friday at Tabor.

The Bethel College men’s basketball team had one of its best shooting nights of the season, coupled with a strong defensive showing in the second half, to knock off York College 83-73 on Tuesday night in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.

Bethel finished the game 30 of 59 from the field, while York was 28 of 60. It was the largest margin of victory for the year for the Threshers.

“It was a welcome sight for us,” Bethel coach Jayson Artaz said. “It was nice that we made some (shots) early. Jordan Neely came and made a couple early. Once you see a ball go in early in the game, it makes you relax a little bit. In the second half, we came out and shot like we do in practice. I feel like we were relaxed enough to finish our plays. We weren’t sped up. That’s been our problem the last couple of games. We’re relatively new and haven’t played together a ton, so it’s been different for us.”

Bethel was led by Bryant Mocaby with 22 points, hitting 8 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 8 3-pointers. Jaylon Scott scored 21 points with 12 rebounds, his third double-double of the season. Clifford Byrd II scored 12 points.

“We know we have shooters on this team, so we know we just have to keep shooting and they will fall,” Scott said. “We talked about being tougher defensively, keeping a hand up on their shot. We had to keep playing. In the first half, they were hitting and we knew that would stop falling. We changed up our ball-screen coverage a little bit, but that was about it. We stayed together. We had to show our hands because the refs were calling it tight. We wanted to make them make shots. We were giving up easy shots.”

York, 1-3 overall and 1-1 in KCAC play, was led by Webster Simeus with 15 and Eric Lenear off the bench with 12.

York hit 17 of 29 in the first half, but just 11 of 31 in the second half.

Bethel led by as many as six early, but York replied with an 8-0 run. Bethel led by one, 44-43, at the end of the half.

Bethel opened the second half on a 5-0 run and led by as many as eight. Bethel foul trouble and missed free throws allowed York to draw as close as two. A Mocaby dunk put Bethel back up by six with 5:40 in regulation. A Mocaby reverse layup on a pass from Tavaughn Flowers put Bethel up by eight with 2:11 to play. Clifford Byrd II followed with 1 of 2 free throws.

Scott hit two free throws with 1:12 remaining to give Bethel its first double-digit lead.

“We couldn’t just coast in,” Artaz said. “They are a team that is going to fight you all the way. In the first half, we were upset with ourselves defensively. We gave up a ton of easy looks. In the second half, we wanted to hold them to 35 and we held them to 30. We did a better job of contesting. If we could clean up some of the fouls, that would make that more comfortable.”

Bethel, 2-3 overall and 2-2 in KCAC play, plays at 8 p.m. Friday at Tabor. The Bluejays are 3-1, 1-1 in KCAC play. Tabor is coming off a 79-78 loss to Oklahoma Wesleyan Friday, followed by a 109-49 exhibition loss to NCAA Division II Pittsburg State.

“We haven’t watched a lot of film on them, but we know they are very, very good,” Artaz said. “They have a couple of guards who can go. We’re going to have our hands full. They are as good as anybody in the conference. They lost to Oklahoma Wesleyan by one and Oklahoma Wesleyan is very good. It’s going to be a battle.”

Bethel 83, York 73

YORK (1-3, 1-1 KCAC) — Eric Lenear 4-5 4-5 12, Kobe Bonner 3-3 0-0 7, Keyaun Hoskin 3-12 0-2 7, Tyreece Berry 3-11 1-2 8, AV Banks 1-5 1-2 4, Webster Simeus 6-9 2-4 15, Allen White 3-5 0-0 6, Jhi Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Michael King 1-2 2-2 5, Demauria Haywood 4-8 1-2 9. TOTALS 28-60 11-19 73.

BETHEL (2-3, 2-2 KCAC) — Tavaughn Flowers 1-3 1-3 4, Miki Zewge 1-2 0-0 3, Jordan Neely 2-3 0-0 6, Clifford Byrd II 4-7 4-6 12, Jalyn Todd 2-5 0-2 4, Jaylon Scott 9-17 3-4 21, Nick Bonner 0-3 0-0 0, Bryant Mocaby 8-14 3-4 22, Harper Jonas 1-3 2-2 5, Adam Gouro 2-2 2-6 6, Ike Umeh 0-0 0-1 0. TOTALS 30-59 15-28 83.

York;43;30;—73

Bethel;44;39;—83

Total fouls — YC 21, BC 15. Technical fouls — BC: Umeh 12:12-2h. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — YC 6-24 (Lenear 0-1, Bonner 1-1, Hoskin 1-5, Berry 1-5, Banks 1-5, Simeus 1-2, King 1-2, Haywood 0-3), BC 8-22 (Flowers 1-1, Zewge 1-2, Neely 2-3, Byrd II 0-1, Todd 0-1, Scott 0-2, Bonner 0-1, Mocaby 3-8, Jonas 1-3). Rebounds — YC 34 (Simeus 6), BC 37 (Scott 12). Assists — YC 10 (Bonner 3), BC 18 (Scott 7). Turnovers — YC 15 (Lenear 5), BC 11 (Scott 3, Gouro 3, Mocaby 3). Blocked shots — YC 3 (Simeus 2), BC 1 (Bonner 1). Steals — YC 7 (Hoskin 2, Banks 2), BC 8 (Byrd II 3).

Bethel junior Adam Gouro defends a shot during play Tuesday against York.