Men's Basketball

Bethel/St. Francis postponed until Wednesday

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We will have to wait a little longer to see the Bethel College men's basketball team take on St. Francis. Due to adverse weather conditions in the area, the scheduled game between the no. 5 Pilots (14-2, 3-1)  and the no. 16 Cougars (12-4, 4-0) on Tuesday night has now been officially postponed until Wednesday at 7 p.m. And the wait should be worth it. The matchup will feature two Crossroads League heavyweights who are having stellar seasons.
Senior center Michael Mislan throws down a dunk against St. Francis last season.
Senior center Michael Mislan throws down a dunk against St. Francis last season.
After beating no. 12 Northwood en route to a victory in the Chuck Daly Memorial Classic last week, the Pilots had a meeting with archrival Grace, who they defeated 110-69 behind 37 points from senior guard Ryan Benner on Saturday.. Now they get no. 16 St. Francis at home. The Cougars have earned their high ranking. They beat then-no. 1 Cardinal Stritch on Nov. 9 and then-no. 2 Indiana Wesleyan on Dec. 7. They come in undefeated in Crossroads League action. We all know about the star power on the Pilots' roster. Benner has been on fire, averaging over 29 points per game (PPG) over the last three contests. With that torrid stretch, Benner (18.9 PPG) has taken the team scoring average lead away from junior guard Zach Miller (18.5 PPG). Miller's early season shooting has been well-documented, and he continues to lead NAIA Division II in three-pointers made (71). In fact, he has 11 more threes made than the second player in the entire country. While those two have been making the headlines, the play of junior point guard Matt Schauss and freshman guard Caleb Oetjen have been, arguably, just as important. Schauss is averaging 13.9 PPG, and he leads the team both in assists (5.4 per game) and rebounding (5.5 per game). He has been the floor general, and has played very efficiently. Time and time again, Oetjen has provided a boost off the bench. He is averaging 7.9 PPG on the year, including 13 points in the Pilots' big win over Grace on Saturday, and games of 23 and 17 earlier in the year. With senior leadership from Benner, guard Landon Booker, forwards Brandon Gerber and Pat Oetting and center Michael Mislan, this team seems to be the whole package. But the Cougars know they can beat Top Five-ranked teams, and they will be ready to face the Pilots. St. Francis is led by junior Josh Hogan, a guard/forward hybrid who averages 18 PPG on the season. It will be strength on strength when the Pilot offense matches up with the St. Francis defense. The Pilots rank sixth in the nation with 92.7 PPG as a team. However, the Cougars rank thirteenth in the nation allowing only 67.1 PPG on defense. Something has to give. The Pilots have the 44-35 advantage in the all-time series against St. Francis, however the Cougars have won five of the last seven meetings. The game will be played at Bethel at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
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