NSAS CITY – No. 21 Bethel Men’s Basketball battled back from a five-point halftime deficit and multiple six-point deficits in the second half and took down NAIA No. 1 and the top overall seed in the tournament Indiana Wesleyan 83-77 on Thursday in the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Round of 16. TreVion Crews led all players with 29 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals, while adding 6 rebounds in the program’s only second-ever victory over a No. 1 team (both over Indiana Wesleyan).
Score: Bethel def. Indiana Wesleyan 83-77
Records: Bethel (23-10) | Indiana Wesleyan (30-3)
NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll: Bethel – No. 21 | Indiana Wesleyan – No. 1
Location: Municipal Auditorium | Kansas City, Mo.
TreVion Crews: 29 pts, 7 ast, 6 reb, 12-21 fg
Jared DeHart: 20 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast
Jani Griffith: 10 pts, 6 reb, 5-7 fg
Jake Johnson: 6 pts, 2-5 3-pt
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
The Pilots outscored the Wildcats 25-7 in points off turnovers and 17-8 in second chance points.
The Pilots took the lead back for good with 2:36 remaining in the game and outscored the No. 1 team 13-5 in the final 3:50.
The Pilots have won three straight games over Top 25 teams in the postseason (all ranked in the top 17) and have held those opponents to 75.6 points per game, 14 points below their collective season scoring average and 10 points below the Pilots’ scoring average allowed on the season.
The Pilots forced prohibitive NAIA Player of the Year favorite Kyle Mangas into a career-high 9 turnovers in his final game.
Steve Drabyn gets his first win over Indiana Wesleyan, his first win over a No. 1-ranked team, and his first win over former LaPorte High School teammate Greg Tonagel.
The Pilots advance to the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Quarterfinals for the ninth time in 17 trips.
The Pilots improve to 1-3 against No. 1 seeds in NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship history.
It is just the seventh time since 1957 that the No. 1 seed lost in the first round of the final site in the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship.
THOUGHTS FROM COACH DRABYN
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of our players, staff, and everybody else involved with our program. I thought our game plan was executed really well. TreVion Crews carried us offensively, we got a big boost from Jake Johnson off the bench, and our players defended a great offensive team.”
“We held them to 77 points when they average 98, we disrupted Kyle Mangas into nine turnovers, and our secondary help was the best it’s been all season. Nathan Aerts and Wesley Burse were really good defensively. We will celebrate this for a few hours and then move onto another really good conference opponent in Saint Francis.”
NEXT TIME OUT
The Pilots take on 9-seed and fellow Crossroads League foe Saint Francis on Saturday at 3:00 pm ET in the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Quarterfinal Round, with a trip to the Fab Four on the line.
For the latest information on each of Bethel University’s 31 intercollegiate athletic teams, visit BUPilots.com or follow the Pilots on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @BUPilots or on YouTube at /BethelSportsNetwork.