The Bethel College men’s basketball team got the last run of the game to claim a 74-65 win over McPherson College Monday night to end the first half of KCAC play at Thresher Gym.

“I thought we defended them better than we defended recently,” Bethel coach Jayson Artaz said. “We were flying all over the place. They killed us on the boards, but we held them to 65. One of the things I was most happy about is we had different guys answer different runs. They went to that 2-3 zone that gave us plenty of trouble and Danen Kistner hits a couple of threes to break it open and force them to go back to man. Garrett White had a great first half. Keisean (Weiher) had a good game offensively.”

Bethel improves to 10-8, 5-7 in KCAC play. McPherson drops to 7-10, 3-9 in the conference. Bethel snaps a two-game losing streak.

“We’re ahead of where we were picked,” Artaz said. “Looking back at the first half, we learned a lot of lessons about ourselves. We learned a lot of lessons that will help us improve. We lost a ton of close games early on. We would have had a really good record if we would have won those close games. Recently, we have won some of those close games. That will help us down the final stretch.”

Kiesean Weiher led Bethel with 23 points on eight of 12 shooting and seven of seven free throws. Sam Morgan added 11 points, hitting three of four 3-pointers. Freshman Jaylon Scott had 12 rebounds.

“The beautiful thing about Jaylon is he might have an off game on offense, but he is never going to have an off game on defense or rebounding,” Artaz said.

“Effort is never a question for him. He does not look like a freshman at all.”

Bethel had one of its better shooting nights of the year, hitting 27 of 54.

Jeffrey Oxford led McPherson with 21 points, followed by Travon Shelvin with 13 and Delvon Hightower with 11. Lual Magot had 11 rebounds.

Bethel men jumped out to an 11-4 lead, but McPherson called a time out and made a 9-0 run. Bethel regained its bearings and led by as many as eight. McPherson then took another time out and cut the Bethel lead to two on a Josh Rivers jumper with 24 seconds left. Garrett White hit a jumper with four seconds left in the half to put Bethel back up by four, 31-27.

Bethel jumped out by nine to start the second half.

Up by seven, Weiher was called for a technical foul and a shooting foul. McPherson hit all four free throws. After a McPherson defensive stop, McPherson got two more free throws, but missed them both. Magot hit two free throws with 12:06 in regulation to cut the Bethel lead to one. Shelvin hit a trey with 10:29 left to put McPherson in the lead.

Bethel broke a 4:10 scoring drought with a Danen Kistner trey with 9:35 in regulation. Scott hit two free throws with 4:05 to play to put Bethel up by six. Magot countered with a putback and a free throw 27 seconds later.

Morgan answered for Bethel with a trey with 3:02 to play. The Threshers then forced a turnover to set up another Morgan trey, putting Bethel up by nine. McPherson came back with three of four free throws. Bethel missed three of four free throws, only getting up by seven with 45 seconds remaining. Kistner hit two free throws with 31.4 seconds to play to put Bethel up by nine. After a defensive stop, Bethel was able to run out the clock.

“This was a big one,” Artaz said. “We wanted to go back to our identity. We have to play harder than everybody else. Against Friends, we did not do that. We watched that film and it was embarrassing for a lot of guys seeing that effort. Tonight, we were dialed in. We played just good enough to win on the offensive end. The defense is where we won it.”

Bethel hosts Saint Mary at 8 p.m. Thursday. The Spires are 8-9, 8-4 in KCAC play, after a 77-73 win over Ottawa. USM beat Bethel 73-67 Nov. 14 in Leavenworth.

“Saint Mary is a real tough team,” Artaz said. “They defend extremely well. We’re going to have to be ready for a physical game. College guys would rather play a three-game week because they don’t want to hear me yell in practice.”

SATURDAY’S GAME — The Bethel College men’s basketball team never found a groove in an 88-65 loss to Friends Saturday in KCAC play at Garvey Gym in Wichita.

It was the largest losing margin for Bethel this season, falling to 9-8, 4-7 in KCAC play. Friends improves to 12-4, 8-3 in KCAC play.

“We did not compete as hard as we normally do on the defensive end,” Bethel coach Jayson Artaz said. “On the offensive end, we felt so rushed. I don’t know how many shots we took that were airballs or off the backboard before they even got to the rim. We shot 12 percent from the 3-point line, three of 25. That’s not going to win too many games. Friends is a really good team and to beat a really good team, we have to shoot the ball well and defend, and I don’t think we did either of those things.”

Friends was led by Jordan Murdock with 30 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. James Conley scored 16 points. Vernon Vaughn scored 11 and Luke Evans scored 10.

Jaylon Scott scored 13 points with 10 rebounds for Bethel. Poe Bryant scored 11.

Bethel was still without Dakota Foster because of an ankle injury. Artaz said Foster will probably be out a minimum of two weeks.

Bethel fell behind early, trailing by as many as 23 in the first half. Bethel climbed back into the game at the half, trailing 44-28.

Back-to-back Friends treys early in the second half got the Falcon lead back over 20. Down by more than 30, Bethel got back within 21 late behind reserve players.

“They made plays to keep us at arm’s length and we could never string together enough stops against them to make a huge dent. We had an opportunity where we were down 14 and missed an open three that hit off the backboard. It was one of those nights where we were off against a really good team.

“Our reserves competed well in the last five minutes. A lot of those are freshmen. It’s getting time to where they are getting more minutes on the court. (Clifford) Byrd (Jr.) had six points, six boards and five assists in 29 minutes. That’s a freshman point guard. That get’s you excited about what we can be in the final stretch of the season.”

Saturday’s game

BETHEL (9-8. 4-7 KCAC) — Trey Sleep 3-5 0-1 7, Poe Bryant 3-7 5-8 11, Terrell Marshall 4-8 0-0 9, Jalal Gondal 0-3 0-0 0, Sam Morgan 1-4 0-0 2, Ahmed Fall 0-0 0-0 0, Kiesean Weiher 2-6 1-4 5, Miki Zewge 1-2 0-1 2, Danen Kistner 1-4 0-0 3, Jaylon Scott 3-7 7-8 13, Greg White 0-0 0-0 0, Clifford Byrd, Jr 3-5 0-0 6, Tavaughn Flowers 0-1 0-0 0, Garrett White 3-11 1-2 7. TOTALS 24-63 14-24 65.

FRIENDS (12-4, 8-3 KCAC) — Luke Evans 2-6 4-4 10, James Conley 6-12 2-6 16, Jordan Murdock 12-19 5-8 30, Hayden Bruner 0-0 0-0 0, Atir Cherne 3-11 0-0 7, Vitor Haefeli 0-0 0-0 0, Zion Fralin 2-5 0-0 4, Tate Vang 2-7 0-1 4, Vernon Vaughn 4-9 3-3 11, Bryant Rogers 0-0 0-0 0, Gabriel Coachman 0-0 0-0 0, Anthoney Collins 2-3 0-0 6, Phillip Medrano 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 33-72 14-22 88.

Bethel;28;37;—65

Friends;44;44;—88

Total fouls — BC 20, Fr. 19. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — BC 3-25 (Sleep 1-2, Bryant 0-2, Marshall 1-2, Gondal 0-2, Morgan 0-3, Weiher 0-1, Zewge 0-1, Kistner 1-3, Scott 0-1, Byrd, Jr 0-2, Ga.White 0-6), Fr. 8-23 (Evans 2-3, Conley 2-4, Murdock 1-5, Cherne 1-5, Fralin 0-2, Vang 0-1, Collins 2-3). Rebounds — BC 42 (Scott 10), Fr. 48 (Murdock 13). Assists — BC 9 (Byrd, Jr. 5), Fr. 12 (Murdock 8). Turnovers — BC 15 (Scott 4), Fr. 9 (Murdock 2, Vaughn 2). Blocked shots — BC 3 (Bryant 1, Weiher 1, Scott 1), Fr. 1 (Vaughn 1). Steals — BC 4 (Marshall 1, Morgan 1, Weiher 1, Scott 1), Fr. 9 (Evans 2, Murdock 2, Cherne 2).

Monday’s game

McPHERSON (7-10, 3-9 KCAC) — Taylor Ellison 0-1 0-0 0, Grant Munsen 1-2 3-4 5, Frederick Watts 0-0 0-0 0, Lual Magot 1-6 3-6 5, Jeffrey Oxford 7-13 6-6 21, Delvon Hightower 3-10 5-6 11, Careino Gurley 0-3 0-0 0, Josh Rivers 2-7 0-0 4, Travon Shelvin 5-11 0-0 13, Grant Owens 2-4 2-4 6. TOTALS 21-57 19-26 65.

BETHEL (10-8, 5-7 KCAC) — Trey Sleep 0-3 0-0 0, Poe Bryant 3-6 1-2 7, Terrell Marshall 2-7 0-3 5, Sam Morgan 4-5 0-0 11, Ahmed Fall 1-2 1-2 3, Kiesean Weiher 8-12 7-7 23, Danen Kistner 2-3 2-2 8, Jaylon Scott 2-5 2-3 6, Greg White 0-0 0-0 0, Clifford Byrd, Jr 1-2 0-0 3, Garrett White 4-9 0-1 8. TOTALS 27-54 13-20 74.

McPherson;27;38;—65

Bethel;31;43;—74

Total fouls — MC 21, BC 20. Technical fouls — BC: Weiher 13:33-2h. Fouled out — MC: Rivers :45.0-2h. 3-point shooting — MC 4-16 (Ellison 0-1, Magot 0-2, Oxford 1-5, Hightower 0-1, Rivers 0-1, Shelvin 3-6), BC 7-23 (Sleep 0-3, Bryant 0-2, Marshall 1-4, Morgan 3-4, Kistner 2-3, Byrd, Jr 1-2, Ga.White 0-5). Rebounds — MC 35 (Magot 11), BC 33 (Scott 12). Assists — MC 9 (Gurley 3, Rivers 3), BC 14 (Morgan 5). Turnovers — MC 15 (Gurley 3, Rivers 3), BC 14 (Marshall 3). Blocked shots — MC 0, BC 4 (Marshall 1, Fall 1, Weiher 1, Scott 1). Steals — MC 2 (Rivers 1, Shelvin 1), BC 5 (Scott 2).