Matt Bos-Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. (Box Score) - The seeded teams continue to fall as Bethel (Ind.) defeated #16 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 73-49 in the first round of the 22nd annual NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. The 2013 event is being held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks (Mo.).
The Pilots improved its record to 9-1 in the first round, winning its ninth straight since falling to Huron (S.D.) in 1994. Bethel became the third unseeded to team to advance into Friday's second round.
Bethel used an early 12-0 run to take a 16-7 advantage and pushed the lead to 11 (37-26) at the break behind a 10-3 surge.
With Bethel leading 46-33, the Pilots put the game away with a 13-1 run, capped by Ryan Benner's third three-pointer of the game. Bethel tightened its defense thereafter, limiting Embry-Riddle to just 23% in the second half.
Bethel shot46% for the game and was led by Benner, who scored 27 points, ripped down six boards and dished out four assists. Jordan Bowerman added a solid 19-point effort and Matt Schauss scored six points to go with 11 rebounds. The Pilots held a 44-32 advantage on the boards.
Embry-Riddle struggled from the field, shooting 30% for the game, 25% from the three-point arc. Both Rico Saldana and Jeremiah Applin scored 11 points to lead the Eagles. Embry-Riddle finishes the year with a 25-9 overall record.
Bethel improves its first round record to 9-1 and advances to the second round with a 25-9 overall record. The Pilots will face either #1 William Penn (Iowa) or McPherson (Kan.) at noon on Friday. The 32-team, single elimination tournament concludes Tuesday, March 12, with the championship game to tip-off at 8 pm.