Holy Cross men’s basketball made the crosstown trip to Bethel Wednesday night and promptly ran into an avalanche. The Pilots sunk the Saints 80-55 in Mishawaka behind a staggering 14-for-31 mark from three-point range. With the loss, Holy Cross fell to 1-1 on the young season and is now 1-16 in its last 17 meetings with Bethel.
The Pilots could not have started the game any better, opening on a 20-2 run in the first five minutes. During that time frame, senior guard Drew Lutz buried four three-pointers, and freshman guard Chikara Tanaka connected on two. The Holy Cross deficit stretched as wide as 26 points before the Pilots took a 48-26 lead into halftime. The Saints struggled mightily to keep up with the Bethel onslaught. At the break, Holy Cross had shot just 35.7% from the field with two three-pointers made, while the Pilots had poured in 12 triples at a 53.3 field goal percentage. The Saints’ leading scorer, senior forward Mick Sullivan, contributed seven points in the first half. However, three Pilots totaled seven points or more, with Lutz amassing 23 points in the first 20 minutes.
Bethel cooled off from distance to open the second half, while freshman forward Tommy Snyder made some noise for the Saints. He picked up eight points in the first 4:07 of the period, but the Pilots maintained a healthy lead. The margin eventually ballooned to 79-42, as the Saints failed to score for nearly four minutes midway through the second half. Holy Cross ended the game on a 13-1 run. A buzzer-beating three from freshman guard Drew Adzia ended the game, but it was all for naught. Bethel’s laser-focused offensive buildup was insurmountable, as the Pilots secured a 25-point home victory.
The Pilots’ recipe for success was simple, yet highly effective. They shot the lights out of the basketball. By making 14 trifectas and limiting Holy Cross to three of them, Bethel commanded the action from the start. While the Saints executed passably from the field (38.6 FG%) and equaled the Pilots with 36 rebounds, their 18 turnovers factored into 26 Bethel points.
For the Saints, Mick Sullivan reeled in 13 points in just 19 minutes, while Tommy Snyder flirted with a double-double (11 points, 9 rebounds). Their two highest scorers still fell short of Bethel’s second-highest scorer alone. Chikara Tanaka and Drew Lutz torched Holy Cross for 25 and 28 points, respectively, nearly outscoring the visitors themselves. The two also combined for nine assists, and Lutz drained eight three-pointers on eleven attempts. Four Pilots hauled down at least five rebounds, backing up the two offensive juggernauts with a consistent, widespread team effort.
The Saints have no time to dwell on the one-sided defeat. They will head to IU-South Bend for the Crossroads-Chicagoland Challenge against the Goshen Maple Leafs. Holy Cross has taken each of the last two in-state matchups with Goshen. That game will be played at 6:00 p.m, immediately followed by Bethel and IU-South Bend at 8:00 p.m.