It was tough, hard-fought and physical. It was a Crossroads League game. In my book, those two sentences are identical, and they both describe Saturday's 66-60 win for the Bethel College men's basketball team over the Mount Vernon Nazarene University Cougars. The Cougars came prepared to play their best basketball, and they did early. They grabbed an early 15-7 lead over the Pilots in the first half. However, as he would all game, junior point guard Matt Schauss was the one who steadied the ship. He connected on two straight possessions midway through the first half to cut the Cougar lead to one. After that, the Pilots went on a 15-5 run which included threes from junior guard Zach Miller and senior guard Landon Booker. At halftime, the Pilots held a 34-29 lead. Schauss led the scoring with 13 points in the first half. However, the Pilots had a poor offensive half shooting 36 percent from the field and 27 percent from three. As they did in the first half, Mount Vernon opened the second half strong. With 15 minutes to go, the Cougars had grabbed the lead again 43-41. Over the next five minutes, both offenses sputtered and scored only four points combined. But the Wiekamp Wackos are always about ready to explode, they just need something to cheer for. That is when Pat Oetting stepped up. A thunderous one-handed slam on a fastbreak from the senior forward gave the Pilots a one-point lead with 8:23 to go and energized the crowd. Momentum was fully with the Pilots. But the Cougars had one last run in them. Mount Vernon held a 58-53 lead with five minutes to go. An embarrassing and season-altering loss was staring the Pilots squarely in the face. They needed to make a run. A 13-2 run to be exact. Schauss once again led the Pilots down the stretch, as they closed out the Cougars 66-60. He led all scorers with 25 points and added three rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Ryan Benner chipped in 16 points, and Miller scored 11. The Pilots are now 22-6 overall with an 11-5 record in the Crossroads League. Their next contest comes Tuesday night on the road against Taylor. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.