The Bethel College Pilots played host to the Indiana Wesleyan University Wildcats (No. 15 NAIA D-II) on Saturday afternoon, hoping to sweep the Wildcats in the regular season series. However, Bethel had to settle for a split as they dropped a hard fought 94-87 decision to IWU. As a result, the Bethel record slipped to 16-12 on the season, and 7-9 in the MCC.
IWU jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead before the Pilots rallied to knot the score at 13-13 seven minutes into the contest. Over the next few minutes of action, the Wildcats built a nine point cushion (29-20), and eventually took a twelve point lead (37-25) into the final five minutes of the period. But the Pilots battled back and used a 13-5 run to trim the deficit to just four (42-38) at the break.
As the second half began, the Wildcats managed to retain the lead at 55-50 with 13:16 left to play. But a7-0 run by the Pilots put the home team in front 57-55 with 9:31 left in regulation. However, IWU responded with a 9-0 run of their own to regain a 64-57 lead with 8:28 remaining. The margin would grow to as many as thirteen (79-66) at the 2:51 mark. But the Pilots wouldn't quit as they connected on five baskets from beyond the arc down the stretch to narrow the gap. Still, the effort wasn't quite enough on this day as IWU walked away with the seven point victory.
Great balance was again evident in the Bethel attack as six players scored in double figures. Zach Miller and Nick Lewis each tallied 16 points while Ryan Benner poured in 15 points on 7 for 11 shooting from the field. Landon Booker and Brandon Gerber each contributed 13 points, and Matt Schauss finished with 11.
The Pilots will be back on the road next Tuesday night when they will travel to Winona Lake, IN to battle the Grace College Lancers (No. 5 NAIA D-II). Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00pm.