The men’s basketball team experienced a number of highs and lows as they hosted the annual Gates Automotive Classic on Dec. 9 and 10. The Pilots were able to outlast the Saints from Holy Cross 84-73; however, were overcome by Cardinal Stritch University by a score of 78-65. After squeaking by the Saints in their season opener with a one point victory, the Pilots had shown quite a bit of improvement. Nevertheless, Holy Cross continued to show their heart and persistence by battling the whole way and gave the Pilots no chance to pull away. After a strong first half, Bethel found themselves leading by a score of 43-35. In addition, they came out ready to play early in the second half and looked to put the game out of reach. Then with less than ten minutes remaining, Holy Cross cut the lead to seven points. From there, Bethel refused to allow the Saints to reach any further by knocking executing key possessions and knocking down vital free throws. All season, the Pilots have continued to show why they are such a difficult team to beat late in the game. Taylor Kolbus had a huge game off the bench as he led the Pilots with 14 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Bowerman also nearly cashed in a double-double performance as he put up 13 points and nine rebounds. Cardinal Stritch approached their game against Bethel coming off of an emotional win over third ranked Davenport University. Consequently, the Wolves were able to continue riding a large amount of momentum as they quickly climbed on top of the Pilots 23-4. Bethel refused to let the game get out of hand and went on a 19-6 run near the end of the half, which put the Wiekamp Wackos on their feet and back in the game. Unfortunately, the Pilots were unable to close the half out strong as they trailed 39-28 at the break. Although Bethel came out fired up in the second half and eventually cut the lead to four points with 13 minutes remaining, the visiting Wolves expanded the lead back to where it was and escaped the Wiekamp Center with two monumental road wins. Matt Schauss played strong for the Pilots as he was able to score 21 points and chip in six assists. In addition,Zach Miller contributed 14 points and three assists. Bethel will not be in action again until Dec. 16, when they travel to West Palm Beach, Florida to compete in the Battle at the Beach Challenge. The Pilots are scheduled to compete against Edward Waters and Northwood University.