Fort Wayne, Ind. - The Bethel College men's basketball team traveled to Fort Wayne Saturday afternoon to face No. 16 (NAIA D-II) University of Saint Francis and came away with a huge 65-62 upset victory over the Cougars.
The contest began with both teams playing even basketball over the course of the first four minutes until the Cougars took the lead on a dunk by Scott Kohn at the 15:46 mark.
Saint Francis would hold a one-point lead over the course of the next two minutes until a free throw by Darrell Hopkins would tie the score at 10-10 with 13:49 remaining in the opening half.
The next four minutes would see a tie game until Bethel's Jordan Bowerman nailed a three-pointer to put BC on top 17-16 with 9:25 remaining.
The Pilots would cling to the one-point lead throughout the next two minutes until Matt Schauss knocked down two free throws to put Bethel up three at 21-18.
Saint Francis came right back as Ethan Hussey would tie the ball game again on a perimeter shot with just under seven minutes to play.
Neither team would see a lead for the next three minutes until a basket by Matt Schauss with 3:53 to play put the Pilots up one. The Cougars regained their first lead since the 11 minute mark on a shot from downtown by Kevin Boom to go up 28-27 with 3:34 left to play in the first half.
Saint Francis would add a free throw to go up two, but Ryan Benner hit a basket with 1:10 to play to tie the game at 29-29.
With 0:31 seconds remaining in the half the Cougars would hold for the final shot until Ryan Benner would get a steal and basket to close out the first stanza giving Bethel a 31-29 advantage.
Matt Schauss led all scorers at the break with nine points. The Pilots would only shoot 36.1 percent in the first half on 13-36 shooting and a dismal 33.3 percent performance from behind the arc on 2-6 from downtown.
The second half started out with neither team being able to score over the course of the first two minutes until Ryan Benner connected on a three-pointer to put Bethel on top 34-29 for their largest lead of the game.
The Cougars then rattled off the next four straight to bring the hosts to within one at 38-37 with 13:25 remaining.
The Pilots would hold steady with a one-point lead for the next two minutes until Michael Mislan knocked in two free throws to give Bethel a 43-40 lead.
Senior guard Drew Schauss came alive scoring the next four points on back-to-back Pilot possessions and extended Bethel's lead to 49-44 with 8:41 left in regulation.
Bethel would then extend their lead to 51-44, but the Cougars would stop the BC run on a basket by Josh Hogan at the 7:25 mark.
The Pilots would get great minutes from Jordyn Coon as the freshman guard would score the next nine Bethel points and help give his team a 62-53 lead with 3:07 remaining.
The Cougars would respond to the Pilot run and score the next four straight points and narrow the lead to 62-57 with just over two minutes to play.
Bethel would get two big free throws from Matt Schauss to go back up seven at 64-57 with just over one minute to play.
Saint Francis would answer again rattling off the next three points to close to within 64-60 with 0:21 seconds left to play, but the Pilots would prevail in the end for the 65-62 final.
Bethel was led in scoring by Matt Schauss who scored 13 points. Michael Mislan would continue his great play off the bench to score ten points and grab four rebounds. The big story of the game was the play of Jordyn Coon and Darrell Hopkins. Coon, who previously played in only seven games, contributed a career-best nine points and four boards. Hopkins chipped in seven points while grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Pilot bench would outscore the USF reserves 34-21 while Bethel also won the battle of the boards with a narrow 42-41 advantage.
Saint Francis was led by Josh Hogan with 16 points.
"It was a typical Crossroads League battle," stated Coach Mike Lightfoot. "It was a hard fought game and both teams gave their best. We've had different players step up and tonight it was Jordyn Coon down the stretch that really kept our team alive late in the game. Our bench continues to help our cause and is a big reason for our success."
With the win, the Pilots move to 5-0 in Crossroads League play for the first time since the 1997-1998 campaign.
Bethel continues League play as they host the Marian University Knights (10-5, 2-3) on Tuesday, January 8. Tip-off is set for 7:00pm.