ABOVE: Noah Webster, junior guard, flies past a Bethel defender during a layup. The Builders lost the heartbreaker with a score of 67-66. (Tessa Castor/Staff photographer)

By RJay McCoy
Staff reporter

The men’s basketball team opened up the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament at home on Thursday night in Stewart Fieldhouse. They were defeated with a final score of 67-66.

In the season schedule these two teams split the series with both teams winning on their home courts.

The first meeting between the two opened up KCAC play back on Nov. 13th when Bethel won the first meeting with a score of 78-73.

Southwestern welcomed Bethel into Stewart Fieldhouse last on Jan. 15th as the Builders put together a strong win with a score of 80-64.

Earlier in the week Southwestern had jumped back into the top 25, ranked at the 25th position.

Coming into the KCAC tournament, Southwestern earned the #2 seed going 23-7 overall and 17-7 in conference play.

On the other hand, Bethel, who went 19-11 overall and 14-10 in conference play, earned the #7 seed for the KCAC tournament.

The first half of the match up started off heated and ended fierce. The Moundbuilders shot exceptionally well from the field by shooting over 50% from the field.

Southwestern jumped out to an early lead, however, turnovers left the door open for the Threshers.

Turnovers became the narrative of the first half for the Moundbuilders.

Fourteen turnovers allowed the Threshers battle in the first half. They were first to go ahead 15-14 in the second quarter, before Southwestern took the lead into the second half.

Andrew Hamm put the builders ahead with two free throws before the end of the half to end it 37-36, Builders up by one.

At the start of the second half, both teams came out slow with the first shots coming nearly three minutes in.

The second presented a rigorous back and forth effort from both sides.

Out of the locker room, Southwestern improved on the turnover margin, although, their shooting percentage went down.

The second half consisted of five lead changes and Bethel getting to an astonishing nine point lead.

The game came down to the last shot being blocked, ending the game and Southwestern’s season.

This loss closes doesn’t close the narrative on the season. The Builders await in hope for a NAIA Tournament bid.