LINDSBORG — On Wednesday night, the Bethany College Swedes reminded everyone that they are capable of beating anyone in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Still reeling from a seven game losing streak, the Swedes put on a brilliant display of team basketball while beating York College 83-76 in Hahn Gymnasium. York is receiving votes in the latest NAIA Top 25 polls and was ranked No. 15 when the Swedes defeated them on their home court back on Dec. 1.
The Swedes shared the ball extremely well, assisting on 26 of their 31 baskets, which could not have made head coach Clair Oleen more pleased.
“That’s Bethany basketball; our best teams, that’s the way we’ve always played,” Oleen said. “It’s so big for us to share the basketball. We wanted to come out very very hungry, very very passionate, and very very hard.”
The Swedes were led by seniors Cody Harris and Joey Habtermariam who both picked ideal times to shine. Habermariam was lethal from beyond the arc, going 4 of 8 and scoring all 16 of his points in the second half.
But it was Harris who carried the Swedes in the first half. He scored all 16 of his points in the first half and had the Swedes up by as many as nine early on.
York fought back and tied the game up late in the half, but a quick Bethany steal and nobody back on defense for York created a wide open dunk from Harris as the buzzer sounded. He was able to get the break away dunk off with just tenths of a second remaining, which sent the Swedes from down one to up one at the half, 35-34.
A 7-3 run from Bethany to start the half was answered with a 13-2 run from York. The game was back and forth from about the 12 minute mark on. Habtermariam began to drain 3’s left and right down the stretch, but it was Tyler Larkin who made the biggest 3-pointer of the night.
With the shot clock running down, Larkin rose up and drilled a contested corner 3 to give the Swedes the lead with under a minute to go. The Bethany defense came up with a steal on the ensuing possession and Larkin made a pair of free throws to ice the game.
“We know that when we play well, we can flat out beat anyone in this conference,” Oleen said. “Tomorrow we’ll put the work clothes on, the work boots on and the hard hats and get ready for the next one.”
Larkin scored five of his seven points in the final minute of the game, and his 10 assists were a game high.
Bethany held York to just 26 of 69 shooting (38 percent), while shooting 48 percent themselves (31 of 65).
The Swedes are now 10-13 (7-8 KCAC) and travel to bitter rival Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday. Action gets underway with the women at 5 p.m. followed by the men at 7 p.m.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.