It just goes to show how tough it is to win on the road in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The men’s basketball team traveled to Newman on Thursday only to fall 58-53 to the ninth place Bethel Threshers. The loss dropped the Builders to 11-12 overall, 7-6 in the conference. The men also dropped into a tie with Bethany College for third place in the KCAC standings.
Southwestern exploded out of the gate, going up 20-7 in the opening minutes of the game. Bethel would fight back to make it a six-point game with 5:34 left in the half, and then narrowed the gap to 32-29 with mere seconds left on the clock. Jared Irvin then made a rare half-court shot as time expired to give the Builders the momentum going into the half.
The men, though, did not play as though they had the momentum in the second half. They struggled offensively throughout the half as the Threshers took advantage and took a 53-49 lead with 49 seconds left in regulation.
With 32 seconds remaining, Justin Diggles, senior guard, made a left hand shot to put the Builders within three. The men’s defense caused a turnover off of the ensuing inbounds pass and they forced a foul. Tim Miser, senior guard, an 80 percent free throw shooter, missed both at the line and put the ball back in the hands of the Threshers.
Bethel extended their lead to five on their next possession. Miser then made a quick basked with 7.8 seconds remaining to make the score 56-53 Threshers. Bethel could not get the next inbound pass in.
With one more shot, Jason McCormack, senior guard, lofted up a three-pointer. McCormack could not connect though as the Threshers ended a nine-game losing streak 58-53.
After shooting 50 percent in the first half, the Builders went just 6-22 from the field in the second half. They also only hit 20 percent of their three point shots, going 0-11 in the second half. From their 20-7 start, they were outscored by Bethel 51-33. “I just don’t think we played as hard as we could have,” said Matt O’ Brien, head men’s basketball coach. “We would pull up for a jump shot and miss a good percentage of them.”
The men’s next game tips off at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Stewart Field House against the second place McPherson Bulldogs.
Clinton Dick is a freshman majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.