ARDEN HILLS, Minn. – For the second consecutive game the Bethel University men's basketball team picked up steam from 3-point range as they defeated Gustavus Adolphus 93-67 Tuesday evening in the opening round of the MIAC Playoffs inside the Robertson Center.
The Royals shot a dead even 50 percent (14-of-28) from long range as they improved to 19-7 on the year as well as moving their winning streak to a program-best 11 games against four-year schools. Bethel is now set to appear in its fifth straight MIAC Semifinals as they travel to No. 2 seed Saint John's Thursday evening in Collegeville. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Senior Matt Ambriz caught fire again from 3-point land. On 8-of-9 shooting, Ambriz was perfect from downtown (5-of-5) scoring a game-high 21 points. Junior Jack Jensondrilled in an effective 15 points while bag man Derek Magnuson made his presence known inside with 15 points as well. Senior Tyler Barker came up big for BU posting his first double-digit rebound game of his career while posting a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double effort. Off the bench Hudson Urbanus hit double digits in the scoring column with 11 points.
A closely knit first half exposed both team's troubles of finding the bottom of the net early on. The Royals offensive found its rhythm with just under 11 minutes left in the first half. Ambriz knocked down his first trey of the night to give Bethel a 20-12 lead. Gustavus responded with a 9-2 run to pull within one with seven and a half to go. The tides turned as Kingland knocked down a 3-pointer to push the lead back to four. Over the next 3:05 Bethel capped off a 14-3 run with three straight layups from Magnuson. Again it was the veteran big man with a bucket just before the horn to give BU a 45-30 lead at the break.
Bethel was hot from 3-point range going 9-of-19 behind the arc in the first 20 minutes. The intermission did not cool the Royals off one bit as Barker knocked down his fourth long range shot in the opening minutes of the second half. Bethel grew its lead on a dominant offensive presence. A layup by Barker with 4:31 left gave the Royals its largest lead at 88-58. The Royals bench did the rest of the work leading BU to a date with Saint John's.
Story by Bethel Assistant Sports Information Director, Austin Lagesse