GOSHEN, Ind. – The Goshen College men's basketball team led wire-to-wire as they knocked off visiting Bethel College 92-84 for the season sweep of the Pilots Tuesday night. While the Maple Leafs have now won three straight overall against Bethel, this was the first victory against the Pilots in Goshen since a 91-86 victory back on January 4, 2005.
Both sides busted out of the gates with an offensive display early. By the first media break just over four minutes into the contest, 33 points had already been scored with Goshen taking an early 22-11 lead.
The Maple Leafs hit six 3-pointers in those four minutes, including three by junior Matthew Martin and a pair by freshman Kody Chandler. All told, Goshen hit 7-of-9 during the span, but the Pilots were also 3-of-4 from the field and 4-of-6 from the line to stay in the contest.
"I was most pleased with our 21 assists on the night," said head coach Gary Chupp whose team had five assists in the first four minutes. "We passed the ball really well, which you have to do with the pressure that Bethel puts on you defensively. Obviously, it helped getting out with an early cushion behind some great shooting."
Long balls by Matt Schauss and Zach Miller cut the deficit back to single digits where it would stay until the midway point of the first half. Goshen got out in transition and hit five-straight field goal attempts during a 10-2 span which saw the lead stretched back to double digits (33-20).
Another Chandler 3-pointer with just less than five minutes left in the opening period put the Maple Leafs up by 15 (48-33) for the first time. They eventually settled into a 52-40 lead heading into the locker room led by 14 points from the freshman.
The Pilots began the second stanza strong and a Brandon Gerber 3-pointer cut the gap back to single digits two and a half minutes in. Another Goshen 3-ball, this time by junior Mike Betcher, quickly brought it back to double figures (59-47), however, with 15:04 to play.
The Maple Leafs went up by as many as 17 before a final push by Bethel. Three Goshen turnovers in a two-minute stretch helped let the Pilots get within five (89-84) in the final minutes, but free throws allowed the hosts to hold on late.
"I thought our bench was really strong tonight," Chupp explained. "Kyle Davis gave us a nice spark and Tyler Hall was really good offensively. We couldn't keep (Landon) Booker out of the paint. He was really good and we had no answer for him. We did a really good job on their freshman guards. I thought they might have big nights, but we made them earn everything."
Chandler had a big night, hitting 9-of-15 from the field for a team-high 23 points. Martin also hit three 3-pointers for 17 points, while Betcher had 13 points and eight rebounds and Hall chipped in 11.
Goshen ended the game hitting 61% from the field, while the Pilots drained a very respectful 49%. Landon Booker led all scorers with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting.
The middle of the Mid-Central College Conference remains tight as Goshen (16-7, 6-5 MCC) is now in a five-way tie for second place. They travel to Saint Francis (15-8, 6-5) on Saturday in another big contest.