Spring Arbor, Mich. – The play of Zach Miller, Jordan Bowerman and Michael Mislan would prove to be too much as the Bethel College Pilots headed north across the border to defeat Spring Arbor University 70-58. The win improves BC's record to 18-4 and 9-1 in the Crossroads League.
The game started out slowly with both teams coming up empty on their first few possessions before the Cougars struck first on a perimeter shot to go up 3-0. Bethel would respond on a three-pointer from Zach Miller to tie the game at 3-3 going into the first media timeout with 15:23 remaining in the opening half.
The next four minutes belonged to Spring Arbor as they went on a 12-0 run that included two three-pointers from SAU's Chris Bellamy to open up a 15-3 lead over the Pilots.
Six minutes would pass until Bethel would get its next field goal to stop the run and pull the Pilots to within ten with 10:10 remaining. The bucket would spark a 7-0 BC run to close to within five (10-15) with 8:35 left in the first half.
The Cougars would hold onto their four-point lead over the course of the next four minutes until an offensive rebound by Michael Mislan brought Bethel to within two (19-17) with 4:45 remaining.
SAU would score the next four points to lead 23-17, but Bethel battled right back to close out the half on an 11-2 run capped off with a three-point play from Zach Miller and back-to-back baskets from Matt and Drew Schauss. The Pilots used the run to take a 28-25 advantage at the half despite only shooting 29 percent from the field. BC was led by Jordan Bowerman's nine points at intermission.
The second half made up for the slow first half as both teams came out firing. Spring Arbor would take charge early taking a quick 31-30 lead before a Zach Miller three-pointer made it 33-31.
The Cougars would claw right back taking another lead at the 16:24 mark to go up 35-34.
Coach Mike Lightfoot would take a timeout and the Pilots would respond going on a 14-0 run to take their largest lead of the game at 48-35 with 12:09 left to play.
Bethel would hold a double-digit lead over the next six minutes until a SAU basket brought them to within nine at 55-46 with 7:41 remaining.
Michael Mislan would come alive scoring the next five Pilot points to give his team a 60-49 lead at the 5:27 mark.
Spring Arbor's Chris Bellamy would carry his team and bring them to within six at 60-54 with 5:05 left to play.
Bethel would reclaim a double-digit advantage at the 3:35 mark thanks to big baskets by Bowerman and Mislan. The Pilots would capitalize on the lead at the free throw line for the 70-58 final.
Zach Miller led Bethel with 25 points, 21 of which came in the second half. Michael Mislan had a double-double performance scoring 13 points and grabbing ten rebounds off the bench. Jordan Bowerman also scored 13 points to go along with six rebounds. Matt and Drew Schauss combined for 14 points, seven points each respectively. The Pilots shot a sizzling 58 percent in the second half to the Cougars 35 percent that would ultimately be the difference.
Bethel also won the rebounding battle 41-34.
Spring Arbor (13-9, 3-7 CL) was led by Chris Bellamy with 24 points.
"This is a team effort and I thought we had some key guys step up and make some great plays," said Coach Mike Lightfoot. "Jordan Bowerman did a great job of getting us through a portion of the game. Michael Mislan was huge off the bench and it's always nice to see Zach Miller keep his shooting touch."
"We came out flat tonight and I knew I needed to do something to step up," stated senior Jordan Bowerman after his team's slow start. "I wanted to do anything I could to get touches and help our team get into some kind of rhythm."
"This is a tough place to play," said Zach Miller. "Jordan (Bowerman) did a great job of leading us when we couldn't get things going and it really helped down the stretch."
Bethel, winners of nine-straight road wins, return home as they host Goshen College (7-14, 0-10 CL) on Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00pm.