The Bethel College men’s basketball team hosted the Gates Automotive Classic this weekend, but they were not very hospitable to their guests.
The mayhem began with a Friday night matchup against Great Lakes Christian College. The Pilots came with their usual pressure defense, and they dominated from the tip-off. They combined good post play, some timely shooting and a thunderous dunk from junior forward Darrell Hopkins at the end of the half that ignited the crowd and gave the Pilots a first half lead of 71-43. The Pilots carried that momentum into the second half with efficient offense and stifling defense. Thirteen different Pilots saw playing time and every player scored – including six Pilots who scored double digits. The team was led by senior Drew Schauss who notched 18 points off the bench. That type of depth and even scoring has become a staple of the Pilots game plan to this point of the season. “We want to get all our guys a lot of playing time so we get ready for the grueling conference season coming up,” Assistant Head Coach Tony Natali said. “We feel like we’ve got some talent all the way through our team and our bench so we want to get them involved as much as we can.” The team effort gave the Pilots a 126-74 victory in the first game of the Classic. They had to turn around and prepare for a matchup against Indiana Dabney University the very next day. The team from the United States Collegiate Athletic Association had a very rude welcoming to Crossroads League basketball. It was another dominating victory for the Pilots as Indiana Dabney was never in contention. At one point, the Pilots had slam dunks on three consecutive possessions - two from junior forward Patrick Oetting and one from Hopkins. It was that kind of dominance that led Bethel to a 110-57 victory while shooting 60 percent from the field. They were led by senior Jordan Bowerman who tallied 19 points. The Pilots’ next game comes at home against the University of Michigan-Dearborn at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15. The tournament went from Friday, Nov. 9 to Saturday, Nov. 10, and it saw the Pilots outscore their opponents 236-131.