Barton’s Hot Hand Propels Bethany to 75-62 Win Over Geneva
Dec. 5 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Senior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) matched his career-high with 27 points, with 18 coming in the second half as the Bethany College men’s basketball team pulled away from a pesky Geneva team for a 75-62 triumph Wednesday night.
Barton buried a three on the opening possession of the game and the Bison (6-1, 3-0) led from start to finish. That doesn’t mean it came easily, as BC opened the contest with the first 11 points but Geneva (0-7, 0-2) answered with a 12-2 run to get within a point. Late in the half, consecutive hoops by junior Devon Braswell (Detroit, Mich./Communication Media Arts) pushed the Green and White lead up to 30-19, but the Golden Tornadoes scored the final seven points of the period and Bethany’s lead was 30-26 at the break.
The Bison shot an abysmal 22 percent (9-41) in the opening stanza, including just 1-for-13 from the arc. The cold shooting was countered by BC going 11-for-12 from the foul line and forcing 13 Geneva turnovers.
The second half nearly mirrored the first, as every time Bethany tried to pull away, the GTs would mount a comeback to stay within striking distance. Leading by six midway through the half, a 9-3 push by the home team, capped by two jumpers from Barton, seemed to give the Bison breathing room at 57-45. Once again, Geneva answered, as an 11-4 run, ended with a trey from Nick Miller, had the visitors within five at 61-56.
Bethany was finally able to put the game away in the last minute. A Barton lay-in was followed by a steal and lay-up from sophomore David Butcher (Rockledge, Fla./Viera) and then two free throws each from senior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) and Barton clinched the win, BC’s seventh straight over Geneva.
After a slow start, Bethany’s offense heated up in the second half by shooting 50 percent (16-32). Barton led the charge, as he lit up the scoreboard with 18 after halftime and finished with 27 to equal his career-high previously set at John Carroll during his sophomore season. Junior Leslie Addy (right - Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 19 boards, the most rebounds by a Bison since Joe Testa corralled 20 in a home win over John Carroll in Jan., 2010.
Rounding out the high scorers for Bethany was Mabery with 10 and he also made six steals.
For Geneva, Matt Lorello, who entered the game leading the league in scoring with better than 24 per game, was limited to 17 points, his lowest output of the season. In addition, Pat Johnson scored 13 and Zac Rorick came off the bench to net 12.
Next up for the Bison is an early season showdown for the top spot in the conference. Bethany will host Thiel on Saturday with both teams bringing 3-0 marks in the PAC, a half-game in front of Thomas More (7-0, 2-0). The Tomcats added to their best start in school history Wednesday by beating Westminster 75-60 to take their record to 6-0 overall. Tip-off on Saturday is slated for 4 p.m.