NORTH NEWTON — The Ottawa University men’s basketball team stayed in striking distance of Tabor for fifth place in the conference with an easy 85-60 win Thursday over winless Bethel in North Newton.

Ottawa (6-7) remained a game behind Tabor (7-5) and a game ahead of McPherson and Southwestern for the seventh seed.

This was the third straight game Ottawa has scored more than 85 points.

The Braves took control late in the first half and the first few minutes of the second half.

Ottawa jumped to a 32-15 lead, but the Threshers fought back within 35-27 with 1:47 left in the first half.

Ottawa led 39-29 at halftime. The Braves scored the first nine points of the second half. Ottawa increased the lead to 19 at 48-29 at the 17:32 mark.

The Threshers unraveled with four technical fouls in a one-minute period, including two on Bethel coach Alonzo Jamison. Julian Rose hit six straight free throws as Ottawa led 60-34 with 13:07 left in the game.

Ottawa extended its lead to 31 points at 70-39 with just less than eight minutes left. Ottawa’s largest lead was at 34 points.

The Braves shot 47 percent from the field and held Bethel to 32 percent. Ottawa connected on 27 of 39 free throws.

Rose led the Braves with 23 points as he hit 10 of 12 free throws.

Alex Lundry tossed in 19 points and snared six rebounds. He was 8 of 10 from the field.

Adam Hasty had 10 points and seven assists in his second game back since returning from his hand injury.

Ottawa (11-12, 6-7) plays 7 p.m. today at home against Sterling (10-2), which is tied with Friends and Bethany for the conference lead.

Bethel (60) — Canady 12, Jones 8, Wright 7, Packard 4, Ford 2, Jones 8, Kingsley 6, Hett 6, Hill 4, Anderson 3.

Ottawa (85) — Rose 23, Lundry 19, Adam Hasty 10, Newton 6, Nichols 7, Hatchett 6, Bullinger 5, Gant 3, Alex Hasty 3, Brown 2, Haase 1.