MISHAWAKA – The No. 17 Bethel College men’s basketball team came away with a 106-99 Crossroads League win over Goshen College Wednesday night in the Wiekamp Athletic Center.
Senior Nick Kindig was the first to put the Pilots on the board with a good three-pointer and the Pilots never looked back. In the first seven minutes of the game the Pilots took a commanding 21-6 lead led by Kindig and forward Gage Ott.
Kindig, a former standout at Tippecanoe Valley High School, continued his sharp shooting from downtown by knocking in two more triples. With 7:26 left to play in the first half, Kindig converted on a lay-up to give the Pilots a 20-point lead (the largest lead of the night). The Maple Leafs refused to go away slowly and in the last 7:26 left in the half went on a 27-12 run to cut the Pilots lead to just five at the intermission.
During the first half the Pilots shot a season high 66 percent from the field connecting on 24-of-36 attempts. Both Kindig and Ott headed into halftime with 16 points each. Ott was 8-of-9 from the field, while Kindig connecting on 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-8 from the three-point line.
Goshen headed into halftime shooting 59 percent from the field and 46 percent from beyond the arc. Forward Dominique Cartier led the way for the Maple Leafs with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
The Pilots continued the sharp shooting early on in the second half going on a 7-2 run extending their lead to ten with 18:37 left to play in the game. The Pilots gradually extended their lead to 16 with the help from Ott and senior guard Caleb Oetjen. Once again the Maple Leafs found a way to fight back in the game and with 54 seconds left to play in the game the Pilots owned only a six-point lead (102-96) with the ball in Goshen’s hands. With 42 seconds, Goshen forward Xavier Newson found just enough space to get a three off hitting nothing but net and cutting the Pilots lead to just three. The Maple Leafs then fouled sending Kindig to the line (currently shooting 81 percent). Kindig converted on both free-throws to put the Pilots up five with 38 seconds left to play. Goshen forward Christian Grider gave the Maple Leafs one last hope, but couldn’t convert on the three-point attempt as Ott secured the rebound and the game.
The Pilots finished the night shooting 63 percent from the field (41-65) despite shooting just 30 percent from behind the arch (6-20). Ott led the way for the Pilots recording his first double-double of the season with 30 points (12-of-14) and 12 rebounds. Kindig finished the night with 24 points going 8-of-15 from the field and 5-of-11 from behind the arc. After scoring just two points in the first half, Oetjen used a big 15 point second half to finish the night with 17 points and nine assist.
Goshen finished the night shooting 53 percent from the field (35-65) and 43 percent from behind the arc. The Maple Leafs were led by Newson, and guard Devin Heath-Granger who each finished the night with 23 points. Cartier added 20 points, while Christian Grider added 12 and Conner Funkhouser added 10.
The Pilots now move to 10-2 on the season and 3-1 in the Crossroads League. The Pilots will take time off from league play and head down to Miami Gardens, Florida on December 19, and 20 to take part in the Saint Thomas Classic. The Pilots face No. 4 Saint Thomas University on December 19 and then turn around and play Southeastern University on December 20.