MBB: Royals fall to conference-leading Tommies

Bethel loses to rival St. Thomas 75-86 at home.

By Abby Pautz and David Pirrie

Last time these two teams faced off, the Tommies won 68-65. Wednesday at Robertson Center Gym, St. Thomas, undefeated in conference play, won again 86-75. In a game full of lead changes, the Tommies ended up shooting a 50 percent while Bethel finished at 45 percent.

In the first matchup Dec. 5 at St. Thomas, the Royals led 33-22 at half. St. Thomas ended up coming back in that game. Saturday, the Royals were down 38-35 at half, but couldn’t come back as the Tommies shot 87 percent from the free throw line.

Above, the Royals’ Hudson Urbanus dribbles along the sideline while defended by Michael Hannon of St. Thomas Wednesday at Robertson Center Gym. At top, Bethel’s Jack Jensen prepares to shoot a free throw. | Photos by Abby Pautz.

The Tommies’ Anders Nelson and Connor Blair led the team with 21 points and 7 rebounds each. Nelson also went 8-for-8 on free throws. The Royals’ Granger Kingland scored 17 points and gathered 10 rebounds and Matt Ambriz also had 17.

“I thought it was a great MIAC competitive evening. Both teams fought really hard, but St. Thomas played a better game.” sixth-year Bethel Coach Doug Novak said.

The loss drops the Royals to 5-5 in the MIAC and 8-7 overall. They’re now tied for fifth in the conference standings with Hamline University, which they host at 3 p.m. Saturday. St. Thomas remains undefeated in the conference at 9-0, 13-1 overall, and tied for first with St. John’s.

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