Pilots on to NAIA quarterfinals after 67-64 win, Oetting injured

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The games only get tougher, and, in so many ways, this was the toughest game of the season for the Pilots.
Teammates huddle together after Pat Oetting was injured in Friday's 67-64 win over College of the Ozarks. (Photo from BethelHoops.com)
Teammates huddle together after Pat Oetting was injured in Friday's 67-64 win over College of the Ozarks. (Photo from BethelHoops.com)
Despite shooting an uncharacteristic 36 percent from the field and a horrid 19 percent from long-range, the Pilots somehow squeaked out a 67-64 win over College of the Ozarks on their home court in front of 3,500 screaming fans. A very scary moment came in the second half when senior Pat Oetting went up for a block and came down hard on his head. The game was stopped for nearly ten minutes as medical professionals attended to Oetting. He was carried off the court on a stretcher, and he waved to the crowd as he left the gym. His mother waved to the team and encouraged them to win the game for Pat. The Pilots had been on a roll up to that point after a rough showing for most of the first half. Star shooter Zach Miller was 0-8 from three in the first half, and the Pilots were down as much as eight. But they closed the first half on a 22-4 run to take a 37-27 halftime lead. They stretched the lead to 11 at the 16:59 mark in the second half, and just minutes later Oetting went down. The teams were given time to warm up before the game restarted, but the Pilots were visibly affected. The Bobcats went on a quick 5-0 run cutting the lead to six. That was when the refs inserted themselves into the game. After many tight calls, both teams were in the double bonus with just under six minutes to play in the game. The Bobcats took a 57-55 lead on free throws with four minutes to go. The Bobcats would continue to get more free throw opportunities, but they started missing. Still, the Pilots were not able to capitalize. Bethel held a slim 59-58 lead with 3:08 to play. Then Ryan Benner stepped up. The senior hit a huge three from the wing to give the Pilots a 62-58 lead with 2:22 to go. The Pilots were in control, but the Bobcats would not go away without a fight. A quick layup brought the Bobcats back within two. After a timeout, they forced Bethel into a shot clock violation with one minute remaining. But this time it was the Bobcats who could not capitalize. The Pilots got the ball back and, fittingly, it was the man who replaced Oetting in the game that came through in the clutch. Senior Michael Mislan hit a layup off of a beautiful pass from Benner to put the Pilots up four with 33.7 seconds to play. Once again, the Bobcats scored to make it a 64-62 game. They quickly fouled junior point guard Matt Schauss who went to the line for two free throws. Clutch. After hitting them both, the Pilots once again had a four point lead...and once again the Bobcats cut it to two. They fouled Schauss again with 6.4 seconds left on the clock. Two free throws would have sealed the game, but this time Schauss only hit one. That opened the door for one final shot from the Bobcats. It fell short, and the Pilots won 67-64. After the game, a team source said that Oetting was alert and talking in the hospital. X-rays were negative and nothing was broken however he does have a possible concussion. The Pilots were led in scoring by Benner who narrowly missed out on his second-straight double-double scoring 24 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Schauss also scored 20 points, and Mislan made a huge contribution with eight points and ten rebounds. Next, the Pilots play Midland University at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday.    
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