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Threshers finish inaugural Bethel men's basketball Classic 1-1
Bethel fell to Peru State and won in a revenge match against William Woods.
On Friday and Saturday, the Bethel men’s basketball team hosted the Bethel Classic in Thresher Gym including Kansas Wesleyan, Peru State, and William Woods. The Threshers fell to the Bobcats of Peru State on Friday night in their home opener 88-73 and avenged their earlier loss to William Woods on Saturday with an 85-80 win that came down to the final minute.
The Threshers found themselves in a hard game on Friday against Peru State which is not where they wanted to be to start off the Classic on their home opener. Bethel started the same five players from its previous contest in the battle.
The Threshers kept the game close in the first half, only turning over the ball four times, much less than their previous games.
In the second half, the Bobcats strayed away from Bethel as they shot 60% from the field and built their lead to as much as 21. Although they never got back at Peru State, the Threshers shot 44% from the field and 40% from three in the second half in the eventual 88-73 loss on their home opener.
“The Peru State game was a rough game for us,” head coach Jayson Artaz said. “I thought we tried to do our own thing too much and didn't play well enough as a team. I also thought once the offensive end went bad we let it bleed into the defensive end and didn't compete nearly as hard as we needed to.”
Eli Wiseman was the leading scorer for Bethel against the Bobcats, leading with 13 points coming off the bench. Carmelo Yakubu tallied up eight rebounds in just his second game of the season. The Threshers racked up 10 steals in the contest.
On Saturday, the Threshers would look to avenge their earlier season loss against William Woods, on Oct. 28 they lost 97-63 in Fulton. The Owls were too coming off a Friday night loss against fellow KCAC member Kansas Wesleyan.
The Threshers had the same starting five as Friday night, never trailing in the first half and getting their lead to almost 20 at one point, courtesy of a few Harper Jonas threes to get Thresher Gym rocking. The Owls didn’t back away in the first half however and cut the Bethel lead to eight at halftime.
“It felt really good to see the threes go in,” Jonas from Andover said. “Being challenged by my coaches and teammates before the game helped me fill the role to hit some shots and I found the need to be consistent.”
The Threshers kicked it right back to start the second half, going up by 14, but the Owls found their first lead with 13 minutes left to go.
Nick Bonner gave Bethel the lead again with five minutes left but then William Woods found themselves ahead by four yet again with just two minutes to go.
The Threshers started their full-court press to try and regain their lead. Jared Richardson made the quotable game-winning play when he stole the ball off the dribble from an Owls player, attacked the lane, went up for the free throw, and got the and-1 call. Richardson made the free throw to put Bethel up by one.
“In the moment I was feeling confident in my defense,” Richardson from Flower Mound, Texas said. “I was just trying to dictate where he went then I timed the dribble up and went for it.”
On the next possession, William Woods put up a shot that was a forced miss by the Threshers but they gave up the offensive rebound giving the Owls another chance to shoot. Jalyn Todd blocked the shot giving Bonner the rebound who then got fouled.
“I knew the free throws would go in after I got fouled,” Bonner from Derby said. “I was happy we bounced back from the day before and I felt like we found our identity during this game.”
Bonner went on to make the free throws and on the next Bethel possession, Yakubu was too fouled and sent to the line to bring the Threshers to the 85-80 victory.
Bonner was the leading scorer for Bethel in this revenge match with 16 points along with five rebounds and five assists. Richardson tallied up three steals, including his game-winning play. Bethel scored 29 points off the bench, including 15 from Wiseman who had two notable nights in a row off the bench.
“Eli is such a great guy to have in the program,” Artaz said. “He has so much contagious positivity which makes others play better around him. He has been shooting the ball really well and he is a definite sparkplug coming off the bench for us.”
Jonas added to his stat line with 12 points, all from the three-point line, and shot perfectly from that spot. The Threshers shot 50% overall from the arc in the contest as well as 50% from the field.
“I am hoping we can build off the William Woods game going into conference play,” Artaz said. “We still have a lot of things we can do better from coaching and playing, but that game was the first game all season where I felt like we looked like a traditional Bethel basketball team. If we can bring that energy and effort every day then conference could be fun for us.”
Bethel sits at a 2-3 record going into conference play. Its next contest will come on Wednesday when they open up KCAC play with a trip to McPherson to take on the Bulldogs at 8 p.m.