Dec. 6 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany men’s basketball team will try to even their PAC record at 1-1 Saturday afternoon when they host Waynesburg. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Hummel Field House.
It was a tale of two halves for the Bison (4-3, 0-1) in their 75-61 loss at Thomas More Wednesday night in the league opener. BC shot 52 percent (17-33) in the opening half, as they built up a 40-29 lead by the break. In the second half, Bethany hit just 8-of-28 from the field (29 percent), was outrebounded 25-11 in the half and outscored 21-6 in the final 5:42, as Thomas More rallied for the victory. Sophomore Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio) scored a career-high 16 in the defeat, while junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) had 14 points.
The loss actually puts Bethany in familiar territory. Last season, the Saints came to BC and knocked off the Green and White 87-78 in the opening PAC contest. The Bison responded by going to Waynesburg and notching an impressive 100-78 triumph, which was the first of nine consecutive conference wins for Bethany, as they went on to win their 12th PAC championship in school history.
Wednesday’s defeat also continues a trend that started two seasons ago for Bethany. They are now 0-2 this season when scoring 70 or fewer points and dropped to 3-11 since the start of 2006-07 season when they fail to reach 71 markers in a game.
One team that Bethany has not struggled scoring against recently is Waynesburg. The Bison have captured 12 consecutive contests from the Yellow Jackets, including a pair last season (100-78 at Waynesburg, 82-78 at Bethany). In the last nine match-ups, BC has sunk an average of 11.4 three-pointers per game and during their current winning streak, the Green and White is scoring 89.8 points per outing against Waynesburg. This recent string has also given Bethany a 55-38 series advantage over the Jackets.
While the Bison will be trying to duplicate last year, Waynesburg is trying to do something it hasn’t accomplished in nine years. By slipping past Thiel 105-104 in double overtime Wednesday night, the Yellow Jackets (3-2, 1-0) can get to 2-0 in the league for the time since the 1999-2000 season when they started out the conference slate 3-0.
The triumph at Thiel was an improbable one, as Waynesburg trailed by as many as 16 in the second half before recovering to force OT. It looked like the Yellow Jackets might win it with a 97-94 lead with two seconds to play, but the Tomcats pushed it to a second extra session with a long three at the horn. Waynesburg shook off a five-point Thiel lead early in the final period and came away with the win on a three-point play from Jason Clark with 1:03 to play. Dan Happe and Jeff Young each scored 23 to pace the winners, with Young adding in a team-high seven boards, while Zack Engel totaled 22 points and five steals.
Happe’s performance against Thiel vaulted him into fourth place in the PAC in scoring with 16.6 points per game. He has been solid from all over the floor, as he’s shooting 52 percent from the field, 49 percent from the arc and is a perfect 21-for-21 from the foul line. Fellow senior Zack Engel is second in scoring (14.3) and assists (2.3) and has a team-best 13 steals. Other double figure scorers include Young at 10.6 and Ryan Courneen at 10.0.