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Defensive effort pushes Cougars past Goshen

The MVNU men’s basketball team (19-9, 8-8) added a win and a loss last week, beating out Goshen College at home and falling to No. 3 Bethel College on the road.

The Cougars defeated Goshen 75-70 grabbing 34 rebounds and dishing out 21 assists as a team.

In the eighth conference victory of the season, senior guard Josh Ashwill picked up his first career triple-double. He recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against the Goshen College Maple Leafs.

“We played really well on the defensive end and limited our turnovers,” Ashwill said. “I’m really proud of the way we played to win an important conference game against a really good Goshen team.”

Sophomore Brett Vipperman matched his career-high in points, scoring 24 for the second time this season.

Freshman Trey McBride added 12 points and four rebounds in the victory.

On Saturday, the Cougars fell in a battle against No. 3 Bethel College 95-84. After eight lead changes and nine ties, Bethel pulled away late in the second half. The Pilots outrebounded the Cougars 46-29.

“Bethel is a really good team and we were right there with them for most of the game,” Ashwill said.

During the second half the Cougars struggled offensively, going three to four minutes where they “didn’t get many stops and were unable to score,” Ashwill said.

Vipperman matched his career high for the second time straight game, scoring a team-high 24 points. Ashwill added 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Senior Deontae Cole added 19 points and six rebounds.

“We battled all the way to the end but fell short,” Cole said of the loss.

Cougars Head Coach Jared Ronai credits Bethel for excellent talent and team depth.

It was a “hard-fought 40 minutes, and I’m excited about our progress today,” Ronai said during his post-game interview with WNZR. “We are not going to hang our heads, we’re going to walk out of here proud and get ready to get better on Monday.”

As a team the Cougars tallied 11 steals and earned 17 of their 84 points off Bethel’s turnovers.

“We fought right with them for the majority of the night,” Ronai said. “I’m really proud of our group.”

The Cougars now look toward the matchup with No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan University this Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“To beat IWU on Tuesday we are going to have to play as well as we did Saturday but for the full 40 minutes,” said Ashwill. “I think we will put ourselves in a good position to win.”

The Cougars currently sit fifth in the Crossroads League, one game behind Taylor University. Playoffs will begin next Tuesday.

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