Bethel Punches Ticket to Title Game With 75-67 Win at St. Olaf
NORTHFIELD, Minn.—Who says you can't beat a team three times in one season? Who says you can't win on the road? Bethel doesn't that's for sure. The Royals came from behind Friday night in Northfield to defeat St. Olaf College—the No. 2 seed in the MIAC Playoffs and No. 18 team in the country—by a final score of 75-67.
BU trailed by 10 points with 6:28 remaining in the opening half, but manufactured a 14-4 run over the next four and a half minutes to even the game at 33-33. St. Olaf went into the intermission break with a two-point advantage, but the Royals took a two-point lead with 17 minutes remaining in the game and never looked back. The Oles tied the contest with 16:20 left, but from then on Bethel never trailed.
"Our guys have continued to get better and better every game," commented head coach Doug Novak. "Tonight was no different and I was so proud of their hustle throughout the entire 40 minutes."
With the win BU advances to the MIAC Championship game for the first time since 2009. Their postseason victory also improves Coach Novak's playoff record at Bethel to 3-1.
The Royals finished the game 27-of-53 (50.9%) from the floor and 8-of-14 (57.1%) from downtown. Perhaps more impressive, BU was 13-of-15 from the foul stripe.
Player of the Year favorite Kyle Zimmermann again led the team with 22 points and 12 rebounds in 38 minutes played. Kyle von_Schmidt-Pauli added 14 thanks to a perfect mark from the free throw line and the 3-point line.
Jared Nelson proved to be a much-needed spark off the bench, as the junior guard went 4-of-4 from outside the arc. His points helped the Royals outscore the Oles off the bench 12-0. Brycen Wojta also scored in double figures, pouring in 11 points and dishing six assists. Trevor Hall also came up clutch down the stretch, as he scored four of his nine points in the final five minutes.
Bethel will meet St. Thomas on Sunday in the conference title game at 2 p.m. The two teams split their series earlier this season with the Royals winning in St. Paul last Wednesday. All fans are encouraged to wear navy blue.