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Bethany Aims to Get Back on Track Wednesday at Geneva

Jan. 22 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team will go for a season sweep of Geneva when they travel to Beaver Falls, Pa., to take on the Golden Tornadoes Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.

5004Wilcox12.jpg The Bison will also be trying to break out of a recent funk that has seen the Green and White lose four of its last five games. On Saturday, BC fell behind by as many as 13 in the first half at Waynesburg and after rallying to tie the game, the Yellow Jackets scored the go-ahead bucket with 44 seconds left and went on a 67-64 upset of the Bison. It was the first loss by a Bethany team against Waynesburg since 2003 and snapped a 22-game winning streak. Senior Nick Wilcox (right - Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) had a team-high 16 points for the Bison, who were held to 34 percent shooting in the setback.

After starting the season with a red-hot offense, the Bison have cooled off in this five-game stretch. When Bethany started off 11-2, they were averaging 82.6 points per game and were held under 75 just three times. But in the past five outings, BC is scoring only 70.2 points per game and been held to 66 points or less in their four losses. The lone exception was when the Bison fired in 109 points in a win over Washington & Jefferson Jan. 12, which is tied for the most points scored during head coach Andrew Sachs’ four-year tenure.

3937Barton12.jpg The Bison had a tough start to their first meeting with Geneva on Dec. 5, as they shot just 22 percent in the first half and held only a 30-26 lead at halftime. But BC found its groove in the second half, canning 50 percent of its shots and pulling away for a 75-62 triumph. Wilcox was sick and sat out that game, but the slack was picked up by senior James Barton (right - Bethel Park, Pa.) with 27 points and junior Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti), who scored 13 points and hauled down a career-high 19 rebounds. Forward Matt Lorello led Geneva, who committed 23 turnovers in the loss, with 17 points.

Geneva (2-15, 2-7) is currently in a three-way with Waynesburg and Westminster for seventh place in the conference. Two of those teams will make the PAC Tournament, while the ninth-place finisher will be left out. The Golden Tornadoes joined Waynesburg and Westminster (who knocked off W&J) with an upset victory Saturday, as they took down Thiel 87-86 in overtime. Forward Keynon Jackson tied the game on a basket with 10 seconds to play and then in OT, Jackson’s two free throws with 33 ticks on the clock provided the winning margin for Geneva. Lorello had a huge game, going 9-for-10 from the field and netting 25 points, while Zac Rorick hit five three-pointers to score 16 off the bench and Jackson contributed 13 markers and nine rebounds.

Led by their talented duo in the front court of Lorello and Jackson, who only had one semester of eligibility left and sat out the fall, the Golden Tornadoes rank fifth in the league with 68.2 points per game. Lorello continues to lead the PAC in scoring with 19.5 points per game and in Jackson’s eight games, he is scoring 12.8 and grabbing 6.9 rebounds a contest.  The main issues that have plagued Geneva this year is stopping opposing teams, as they give up a PAC-high 83.3 points per game, and turnovers, with the Golden Tornadoes committing 19.3 miscues per contest, the most in the league.