April 18 - SOFT vs. Thomas More (L, 6-0/L, 6-0), MTEN at Mt. Aloysius (W, 8-1); April 18 - SOFT vs. BW (L, 2-0/ W, 9-7), MTEN vs. PS-Altoona (W, 5-4), BASE at Waynesburg (W, 6-3/L, 3-1)

BETHANY ALONE IN FIRST PLACE AFTER 77-76 WIN AT THOMAS MORE

Jan. 26 - CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – Junior center Petre Petkovski’s (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) offensive rebound and putback with 11 seconds left gave the Bethany College men’s basketball team the lead and Thomas More (Ky.) College missed a shot at the buzzer that allowed the Bison to pull out a thrilling 77-76 victory over the Saints Saturday afternoon.

The victory raises BC’s record to 11-7 overall and 6-1 in the PAC to places them a half-game in front of Grove City (12-6, 5-1), who defeated Geneva 67-60 on Saturday. Thomas More drops to 8-10 and 4-3 in the league with the narrow loss.

The hosts roared out of the gate, as Johnny Bovard hit two threes during an 11-2 run to open the game. Bethany answered back with a 12-2 spurt, fueled by a trio of treys from junior guard Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central). The see-saw first half had five ties and seven lead changes, but the Saints used a triple from Bovard late in the half to help send them into halftime with a 43-40 lead.

The two sharp-shooters led their teams at the break, as Morando was 4-for-5 from the arc for 12 points for the Bison, who shot 45 percent (14-31) in the opening half. An efficient Thomas More offense, which connected on 55 percent (16-29) of their first half shots, was highlighted by Bovard hitting all four of his three-point attempts for 12 points.

Bethany was forced to play catch-up the entire second half and it seemed like the Saints would fight off every BC challenge. Four times in the final nine minutes, Bethany scored to take the lead or tie the game and Thomas More answered with points on their next possession. The final time came when Bethany sophomore Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) drilled a three to tie the game at 73, but it was answered by TMC’s Mark Tinklenberg swishing a trifecta to make it 76-73 Saints with 1:20 left.

The Bison nearly drew even on their ensuing possession, as senior guard Brody Jackson (Akron, Ohio/Manchester) hit a lay-up while getting fouled. However, he missed the free throw and Thomas More maintained the 76-75 lead until the closing seconds. After making a steal to get the ball back, Bison senior guard Marcus Adams (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) penetrated to the basket but missed the shot. But Petkovski was there to grab the board and lay-in the go-ahead bucket with 11 ticks remaining. Thomas More’s final shot went to Owens, who had missed a lay-up as the horn sounded and the Bison came away with their fifth consecutive victory.

Five players tallied double digits for the Bison, led by Morando’s 17 to lead all scorers. Jackson notched 13 points and four assists, while Ankrom came off the bench to record 12 markers and five rebounds. Completing the top scorers was Adams with 11 and Petkovski’s game-winner gave him 10 for the contest.

Tinklenberg was the Saints’ leader in scoring and rebounding with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double. Bovard also fired in 14, while Owens recorded 12 points for Thomas More.

The Bison return home for their next contest, which will be Wednesday when they host Waynesburg at 6 p.m. in the first game of a conference twinbill with the women’s team. Bethany won the first meeting between the schools 100-78 on Dec. 5, the 11th consecutive BC victory over the Yellow Jackets.