The Bethel College men’s basketball team seemed to go in streaks Saturday night, falling to Bethany 77-74 in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.

Bethel led by as many as eight and trailed by as many as 11. The game came down to the final seconds when Joey Habtermariam hit a 3-pointer with 28.3 seconds left to break open a tied game. Bethany then survived the free throw shooting contest in the final seconds.

“We were way too up and down today,” Bethel coach Tony Hoops said. “Defensively, we were good at times and then we were very poor at times, especially in transition. Offensively, our ball movement was better down the stretch. We had a stretch in the middle of the second half where we were not good. You play a good team like Bethany, you have to play a complete game.”

Bethany avenges an 85-84 loss to the Threshers earlier this season on a buzzer-beater in Lindsborg.

Bethany improves to 12-14, 9-9 in KCAC play. Bethel falls to 11-15, 5-13 in KCAC play. With four games remaining in the regular season, Bethel is 2 1/2 games behind Oklahoma Wesleyan for eighth place in the conference. The top eight teams advance to the KCAC post-season tournament.

“We are still in control of our own destiny,” Hoops said. “We host Oklahoma Wesleyan next week. We plays at Kansas Wesleyan Thursday. I know the heart that I have in this team. We’re not going to quit. There’s still time. You play a whole season for a reason. You play 30 games, not 26. Last year, we made our run in the middle of the season. We need to finish strong this year.”

Khalid Washington scored 16 points to lead Bethany, followed by Habtermariam with 13, Ian Merzwinski with 12, Tyler Larkin with 12 and Jalen Thompson with 11. Merzwinski had 15 rebounds.

Deven Goodwin led Bethel with 24 points. Chase Banister added 22, 19 in the second half, to help pace the Thresher comeback.

“He was a big spark plug for us tonight,” Hoops said. “He hit some big threes for us, that’s for sure.”

Bethel opened the scoring with a Bannister 3-pointer, but then gave up a 9-0 run. Bethel quickly reeled the Swedes back in and led by as many as eight. Bethany then pulled within one. Neither team scored again until Khalid Washington hit two free throws with 5.7 seconds left in the half, putting Bethany ahead 33-32 at the half.

The Threshers shooting struggles continued early in the second half as missed Bethel shots led to a 7-0 Bethany run. Bethel, sparked by Banister, made a run of its own to draw within one.

Bethel turnovers allowed Bethany to get back out by 11.

The Threshers got back in the game on 3-pointers by Banister and Goodwin. A Banister layup off an Austin Mitchell steal got the Thershers within two with 4:42 in regulation.

A pair of Goodwin free throws on a Bethany technical got Threshers within one with 1:57 to play. After a defensive stop, Jacob Miller was fouled on a shot, but missed both free throws with 1:25 in regulation. Twenty eight seconds later, Miller was fouled on a rebound and hit one of two free throws to tie the game.

Goodwin blocked a Bethany shot with 32.6 seconds left in regulation, but the rebound was tied up and the possession arrow went to the Swedes with five seconds left on the shot clock. Habtermariam hit a 3-pointer for Bethany on the inbounds play with 28.3 seconds left. Goodwin was fouled with 15 seconds left, hitting one of two free throws.

Habtermariam missed a free throw with 8.9 seconds left, but Bethany got the rebound. Jalen Thompson was fouled with 6.3 seconds to play, hitting both free throws. Goodwin hit a trey with .5 seconds to play. Thompson followed with two free throws before time could go off. Bethel’s inbounds play was intercepted.

“It’s not a lack of effort, or a lack of try, you just have to make plays,” Hoops said. “The bottom line is in college basketball, you have to do those little things correctly.”

Bethel plays at 8 p.m. Thursday at Kansas Wesleyan. The Coyotes are 10-15, 6-12 in KCAC play. KWU topped Oklahoma Wesleyan 90-79 to snap a three-game losing streak. Bethel beat the Coyotes 108-69 earlier this season.

BETHANY (11-15, 8-9 KCAC) — Merzwinski 6-8 0-0 12, Patrick 2-4 0-0 4, Funderburke 0-4 0-0 0, Deterville 0-0 0-0 0, Okafor 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan 0-0 0-0 0, Batman 0-0 0-0 0, Habtermariam 4-10 2-3 13, Larkin 6-10 0-0 12, Harris 1-8 0-0 2, Thompson 3-5 3-4 11, Washington 5-16 5-6 16, Kelly 3-3 0-2 7. TOTALS 30-69 10-15 77.

BETHEL (11-15, 5-13 KCAC) — Miller 1-7 1-4 3, Goodwin 6-18 9-10 24, Sleep 3-4 2-2 8, Mitchell 1-5 2-3 4, Robinson 0-0 1-2 1, Banister 9-16 0-0 22, Bryant 2-3 2-2 6, Marshall 2-6 2-2 6, Long 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan 0-0 0-0 0, Cooper 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 24-59 19-25 74.



Total fouls — Bethany 21, Bethel 16. Technical fouls — Bethany: Washington 1:57-2h. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — Bethany 7-20 (Habtermariam 3-8, Harris 0-3, Thompson 2-4, Washington 1-4, Kelly 1-1), Bethel 7-18 (Goodwin 3-8, Mitchell 0-1, Banister 4-9). Rebounds — Bethany 37 (Merzwinski 15), Bethel 39 (Goodwin 8). Assists — Bethany 12 (Larkin 5), Bethel 11 (Mitchell 4). Turnovers — Bethany 13 (Washington 3, Larkin 3, Funderburke 3), Bethel 16 (Robinson 4). Blocked shots — Bethany 8 (Merzwinski 3), Bethel 3 (Robinson 2). Steals — Bethany 9 (Harris 2, Washington 2), Bethel 5 (Robinson 2).