Pilots Stay Perfect in Crossroads League
Story by Bethel Sports Information
WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The No. 21 Bethel (Ind.) men's basketball team traveled to Winona Lake on Thursday night to renew their rivalry with the No. 12 Grace College (Ind.) Lancers and collected an impressive 98-88 victory in the NAIA Game of the Week. The win, Bethel's eleventh in a row, improves its season mark to 16-3 and 7-0 in Crossroads League play. The win also snapped Grace's twelve-game home winning streak.
In the game's opening minutes, the Lancers jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before Bethel could dent the scoreboard. Grace would eventually increase their advantage to ten points (28-18) with just over 11:00 left in the period. But a huge 16-1 Pilot run, pushed Bethel in front by the score of 34-29. After trading baskets, the Lancers would succeed in re-capturing the lead 43-40 just before intermission. However, Bethel would tally the final six points of the half to take a 46-43 lead into the break.
The Pilots came out on fire to begin the second half as they used a 13-1 run, capped off by a four point play from Zach Miller, to assume a 59-44 lead. A bucket from Bethel'sDrew Schauss gave the Pilots their largest lead of the night at 72-55 with 10:00 remaining. Grace was then able to trim the margin to 74-63 before another 6-0 run from the Pilots restored the advantage back to seventeen (80-63). Grace managed to drain five late three-point baskets, but it wasn't near enough as the Pilots cruised to the victory.
The Pilots enjoyed great scoring balance, led by Jordan Bowerman with 24 points on 10 for 15 shooting from the field. Bowerman also hauled down a team-high 8 rebounds.Ryan Benner poured in 20 points on 8 for 11 shooting from the field. Benner also collected seven boards and handed out five assists. Matt Schauss contributed 16 points and seven rebounds while Michael Mislan continued his fine play off the bench with 13 points and six boards. Zach Miller finished with 12 points and six rebounds, and Drew Schauss chipped in with ten points on the night. As a team, Bethel shot a scorching 58.6% from the field and won the rebounding battle by a 39-32 count.
After the game, Bethel head coach, Mike Lightfoot commented: "It was a great atmosphere in a crazy NAIA rivalry. I was proud of our effort tonight on the road. We had great team balance tonight with many guys rising to the occassion. We get no rest however, as another Top 10 team comes along on Saturday in IWU."
Bethel will now return home to host the No. 6 Indiana Wesleyan University Wildcats on Saturday in the Wiekamp Athletic Center. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m. EST.