By Matt Bos, NAIA Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - (Box Score)—Bethel (Ind.) needed overtime but came away with an 85-75 win over #15 California State University Maritime in the first round of the 2014 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship. The 2014 event is being played at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo.
The Pilots improve their first round record to a perfect 10-0 and reach the second round for the second consecutive year.
Bethel outscored Cal Maritime 18-8 in the extra period, limiting the Keelhaulers to just two field goals during the five-minute overtime session. A Ryan Benner three-point play to start the overtime put the Pilots up for good and began the decisive run.
Zach Miller was one of four Bethel players in double figures with a game-high 24 points, making a tournament-high five three-pointers. Benner poured in 19 points and 10 boards for the double-double and both Matt Schauss (17) and Patrick Oetting (15) were also in double figures. Bethel shot 44% for the game but 53% in a second half that they outscored the Keelhaulers by nine.
Cal-Maritime took control early, leading by as much as 10 (17-7) at the 15-minute mark. Back-to-back three-point plays by Miller and Schauss put Bethel within one but the Keelhaulers answered with an 8-0 run to close the half to take a 37-28 lead at the break.
A three-pointer by Jaquai Wiley gave Cal-Maritime its largest lead of the game (40-28) at the start of the second half but Bethel stormed back with a 22-6 run to take its first lead of the game, 50-46, at the 13-minute mark.
The game was tight the rest of the way with four lead changes and two ties. A 5-0 Bethel spurt broke a 62-62 tie but Cal-Maritime scored the final five points on a three-pointer by Wiley and two free throws by Erik Hanson with 1:23 left. Both teams missed on chances to win it regulation.
Cal Maritme was led by Hanson with 17 points and was one five players in double figures. Anthony Simi recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. The Keelhaulers shot 38% for the game but were held to 28% in the second half and overtime periods. They close the year with a 27-6 record.
Bethel improves to 27-7 on the year and will play either #2 College of Idaho or unseeded College of the Ozarks in the second round on Friday, March 14 at 7:30pm.