A conference win and a historic milestone prevail in Bethel men’s basketball.
By Jared Martinson
In 2005, the Bethel University men’s basketball team made 19 three-pointers in a single game against the University of Minnesota-Morris. That record stood its ground firmly until Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018.
The Royals knocked off the Macalester College Scots by a final score of 103-59 on Wednesday night in an explosive performance that was highlighted by a fresh entry in the Bethel history books.
Bethel torched the Leonard Center on the campus of Macalester College for a total of 23 three-pointers, 14 of which were made in the second half.
After a team-wide sluggish start to the contest—the Royals led the Scots 14-13 with 11 minutes to play in the first half—sophomore forward Granger Kingland heated up and netted five threes heading into the break, giving Bethel a 50-26 lead. Kingland sparked a long-range flurry as Bethel shot 9-17 from deep in the initial frame. The hot shooting didn’t end at the first buzzer, as a 19-7 Bethel run pushed the lead to 36 just five minutes into the second half. Solid bench play during the game’s final minutes put Bethel’s hoopers into a hunt they didn’t even know they were a part of: reaching and breaking the school record for team three-point field goals in a single game.
Freshman Noah Whalen hit back-to-back-to-back triples to tie the old record of 19 makes. Then, with just over three minutes to play, junior Conrad Engstrom flashed to the corner, set his feet and buried Bethel bomb number 20.
Coaches and players were notified of the milestone after the game and expressed amazement at the achievement. The game’s leading scorer Granger Kingland (21 points, seven three-pointers) wasn’t so surprised because of the way he and his teammates operate as a unit on the court.
“We’re all unselfish,” he explained. “We’re always looking for the best shot. We have a bunch of guys who can open up the floor and hit shots, and that’s what makes it easy.”
Junior Matt Ambriz added 14 points (four triples), Riley Dearring had 13 points and Jack Jenson knocked down two three-pointers to go with his 12 points.
Just one game remains on the regular season schedule. This is usually the time for tired legs. Despite the physically and mentally taxing season, Kingland and crew are ready for a MIAC playoff run.
“We can play with any team in the country, it’s just a matter of putting it all together every single night, just having fun and playing our basketball,” Kingland said.
Stay tuned for the Royals postseason slate, as they secured a berth last weekend in a win over Gustavus. MIAC playoffs begin Wednesday, February 21.