OMAHA, Neb. – No. 21 Bethel Men’s Basketball caught fire and shot their way back from an 11-point deficit in the final six minutes to upset No. 10 Providence 85-81 in the 2020-21 NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Opening Round, presented by Ballogy. The Pilots earn a spot among the final 16 teams in Kansas City as the Omaha Bracket A champions. TreVion Crews led all scorers with 39 points and 7 steals.
Score: Bethel def. Providence 85-81
Records: Bethel (22-10) | Providence (17-3)
NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll: Bethel – No. 21 | Providence – No. 10
Location: DJ Sokol Arena | Creighton University | Omaha, Neb.
TreVion Crews: 39 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 7 stl
Nathan Aerts: 13 pts, 7 reb, 2 ast
Jared DeHart: 15 pts, 5 reb, 4-7 3-pt
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
The Pilots were outrebounded 43-30.
The Pilots shot just 30.3-percent in the first half but caught fire in the second half for 65.4-percent from the field in the final stanza. TreVion Crews accounted for 29 points on 11-16 from the field, and 4-6 from the three-point line, in the second half.
The Pilots held NAIA First Team All-American Zaccheus Darko-Kelly to 9 points and 2 rebounds in the second half, after recording 9 points and 12 rebounds in the first.
The Pilots trailed by 11 with 6:13 remaining in the game but outscored the top-seeded Argos 24-9 over the final stretch to secure the win. The Pilots were 7-8 from the field in the decisive run, including 4-5 from long range.
The Pilots advance to the final sixteen teams for the 13th time in 17 trips to the NAIA National Championship.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Pilots will advance to the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship final site in Kansas City where the Round of 16 begins on Thursday. The Pilots will take on overall No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan on Thursday at 8:15 pm ET.
THOUGHTS FROM COACH DRABYN
“Wow, what a resilient effort from our team tonight! I am so proud of them for sticking with it and finding a way to win against a really good team! We are a battle-tested team and the Crossroads League helped prepare us for the National Tournament. We have been through a lot this year with COVID, injuries to key players, and losing some tough games late in the season. I am really happy for our guys to be rewarded.”
“TreVion Crews was outstanding tonight and made some big plays. Jared DeHart made a huge 3 late and Nathan Aerts and Wesley Burse did a great job guarding Darko-Kelly. We will enjoy this moment and then prepare for the Sweet 16 come Monday. We can’t wait to go compete on the big stage!”