Men's Basketball

GAME PREVIEW: Pilots face Andrews University in home opener

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After three road games to start the season, the Bethel College men’s basketball team finally returns to the land of the Wiekamp Wackos for their home opener on Wednesday night. The Pilots (3-0) face the Cardinals of Andrews University (2-0) at 7 p.m. in Gates Gymnasium for the first time in the 2013-2014 season. There is a lot of excitement surrounding this game after three straight wins to open the basketball season. But Coach Lightfoot says the Pilots have their hands full with the Cardinals.
Senior Michael Mislan powers inside for a lay up against Holy Cross.
Senior Michael Mislan powers inside for a lay up against Holy Cross.
“They play a tough zone,” said Lightfoot. “It’s something we’re not used to, and it’s given us problems in the past. We’ve been practicing for it, but we’re really going to have to execute.” The Cardinals’ zone worked well in their most recent win over IUSB. In the 75-66 Andrews victory, they held the Titans to 35 percent shooting. But Lightfoot also plans to make things just as difficult for the Cardinals. “We’re going to press a lot,” he said. That comes as no surprise to fans of Bethel basketball. But Andrews is led by two guards who know how to handle a press. “They have two really good guards,” said Lightfoot. “You’ll want to watch out for them.” Those guards are Junior Orelus and 2012-2013 All-American Tyler Wooldridge, both seniors. They led Andrews in scoring in the Cardinals’ season-opening win over Indiana Dabney. But they aren’t the only weapons on the Cardinals’ roster. Senior forward Matthew Little was also an All-American last year, and he led the team with 27 points in the win over IUSB. But it’s not as if the Pilots’ roster has no star power. The Pilots get scoring from all over. In each of their three wins, a different player has been the high scorer. The comeback of senior guard Landon Booker coupled with the outside shooting of Zach Miller and Ryan Benner along with the leadership of floor general Matt Schauss has made for a very balanced offensive attack. And so far, it has been a recipe for success. The Pilots began the year as no. 2 in the preseason Crossroads League rankings and no. 9 overall in the preseason NAIA Division II poll. Combine that with the fact that Bethel is coming off a conference championship, and expectations are high. After beating Holy Cross handily in the season opener, the Pilots dispatched no. 17 Madonna 94-90 in their first true test of the season. They followed that up with a gritty win over Lourdes, pushing their season record to 3-0. They will look to continue that success on Wednesday night.
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