Men's Basketball

Threes doom Pilots in Senior Night loss to Grace

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Regular season games don’t get a whole lot bigger than the Bethel College Pilots’ matchup against the Grace College Lancers on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Players fight for a loose ball during the Feb. 12 matchup against Bethel College and Grace College which Grace won 96-83.
It was Senior Night, it was the final home game of the year, it was against arguably Bethel’s biggest rival and it held major implications in the Crossroads League race as both teams came in knotted up with an 11-5 conference record. The Pilots entered the game riding a three-game losing streak including a tough two-point loss to conference leader Indiana Wesleyan. Fans were out in full force for the game and the atmosphere was electric. Prior to the game, the Pilots honored the seniors on the team: guard Drew Schauss and forward Jordan Bowerman. The first half was a series of runs as the Pilots raced to an early 10-4 lead. The Lancers answered back with a 12-3 run followed by a 9-0 run later in the half to stretch their lead to 40-27. But the Pilots closed the half on a 9-4 run to make the halftime score 44-36 in favor of the Lancers. Both teams shot 48 percent from the field in the first half. But the major difference came behind the arc. The Lancers shot an astounding 67 percent from the three-point line in what would become a theme of the game. The second half would be characterized by big Grace leads and valiant comeback attempts from the Pilots. The Pilots scored the first three points of the half, but the Lancers once again went on a big run. An 11-2 Grace run swelled their lead to 55-41. The Pilots would make a big charge later in the half as sophomore guard Zach Miller scored ten consecutive points. This cut the Lancer lead to six at 77-71. But Grace always had an answer. Led by senior guards Bruce Grimm Jr. and Elliot Smith, the Lancers thwarted every comeback attempt by the Pilots with timely threes and gritty buckets. Lancers’ sophomore guard Karl Columbus even added in a four-point play to energize his squad. Grace closed out the game by dealing with Bethel’s pressure and knocking down free throws, winning the game by a score of 96-83. Despite the torrid second-half stretch from Miller and two energizing dunks from junior center Michael Mislan, all the comeback attempts from the Pilots fell short. They could never fully climb back into the game. The Pilots were led in scoring by Miller and junior guard Ryan Benner who each scored 17. Sophomore guard Matt Schauss added in 15 and Mislan scored 12 off the bench. The Lancers were led by Smith who scored 23 points and was 7-10 from behind the arc. He kept hitting big shot after big shot to stamp out any threat from the Pilots. Grimm Jr. played another stellar all-around game scoring 18 points with eight assists and zero turnovers. Three-point shooting was a key in the game as the Lancers set their season high by draining 13 long-range shots. It was a disappointing end to the Pilots’ home schedule and it spoiled the Senior Night festivities. The Pilots have now lost four games in a row and will look to get back to their winning ways against Marian University in Indianapolis on Saturday, Feb. 16 in their final regular season game.
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