BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — The Bethany College men fell behind early and never could make a run in the second half of a 91-69 loss to Oklahoma Wesleyan on Wednesday night in the opening round of the KCAC Tournament.
The loss ended Bethany’s season at 16-15. The Swedes ended the regular season with three consecutive wins to earn the final spot in the tournament quarterfinals.
Oklahoma Wesleyan, the tournament’s top seed, is now 29-2 and will be at home for Saturday’s 2 p.m. semifinal to face Ottawa, a 79-74 winner over Kansas Wesleyan.
Bethany had its only lead when Lavaris Duncan scored on the Swede’s opening possession for a 2-0 advantage. The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, had its first double-digit lead at 17-7 less than six minutes into the game, and extended that margin to 20 points (51-31) at halftime.
Oklahoma Wesleyan shot 54.8 percent in the first half (17 of 31) and was a perfect 13 of 13 from the free throw line.
The lead never slipped below 20 points in the second half. The Eagles had their biggest lead of 31 points (73-42) with 12 minutes remaining.
Senior Tyler Larkin had 17 points, six rebounds and four assists in his final game to lead Bethany in all three categories. Oklahoma Wesleyan finished with a 50-31 rebounding advantage.
Sophomore Isiah Saenz had 16 points, including four 3-pointers for the Swedes. Freshman Dalton Smyres had eight points, which was two points shy of his season high set back in November.
The Eagles had five players score in double figures, including 17 points for Isaak Rowe.