LINDSBORG — It was all Bethany College from the opening tip.
Bethany never trailed in Tuesday’s 78-60 win over county rival McPherson College. It took Bethany six minutes to grow its lead to double digits, and after McPherson cut the lead to four over the next few minutes, the Swedes erupted and never looked back.
From there, Bethany (4-6, 1-2 KCAC) went on a 25-8 run that expanded over eight minutes in the first half, took a 16-point lead into the locker room, and continued to play hard in the second half to earn its first conference win of the season.
McPherson (1-6, 0-3 KCAC) was without Louis Parker III, who was serving a one-game suspension sustained in last Saturday’s loss to Tabor, and Careino Gurely, who continues to be sidelined with injury. The Bulldogs were forced to rely on a few inexperienced players, but the experience gained will no doubt be vital for a team that starts only one senior.
Bethany’s Tyler Larkin had a game-high 17 points along with five rebounds and a steal. Thomas Hood nailed four 3-pointers and Isiah Saenz drained three 3-pointers as both finished with 14 points.
Bethany shot 41.7 percent from three (10-24) compared to just 13.6 percent (3-22) for McPherson. The 3-ball has been especially frustrating for McPherson’s Aaron Bachura, who was 0-for-7 after going 0-for-10 against Tabor last Saturday. Bachura, the best 3-point shooter for the Bulldogs the past few seasons, is a career 36 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
As a team, McPherson has now lost six straight KCAC games dating back to last season. The Bulldogs will step out of conference on Saturday when they host Baker University. McPherson picks up KCAC play again next Wednesday when they host Southwestern.
Bethany will head into the holiday break on a positive note, and will be back in action next Wednesday when they host Friends.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel