BETHANY BEATS CASE WESTERN TO TAKE 3RD AT JCU TOURNAMENT
Nov. 28 - UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – Behind five scorers in double digits and a defense that held Case Western Reserve scoreless over the final 8:38 of the game, the Bethany College men’s basketball team took third place in John Carroll’s John Steadman Classic with an 81-55 victory over the Spartans Sunday afternoon.
The Bison (3-3) used a big run at the end of the first half to take a 35-27 lead into the intermission. Case (1-5) led 25-20 with six minutes to play, but a pair of threes from sophomore Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) and one by senior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) sparked a 15-2 half-closing spurt.
After taking the eight-point lead at halftime, the Bison scored the opening hoop of the second half to make it a double-digit advantage and it was a 47-37 margin when BC sophomore James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) hit a three with 14:29 left. The Spartans were able to stay within striking distance and trimmed the Bison lead to 59-55 when Tim Chung connected on a trey with 8:38 to play.
Amazingly, that would be the final points of the day for Case, as Bethany exploded for a 22-0 blitz to close out the game. After a jumper by sophomore Brady Pacific (Avommore, Pa./Kiski) started the run, sophomore Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) buried back-to-back threes and Barton knocked down a jumper and trifecta to balloon the cushion to 72-55 and the Bison coasted the rest of the way for the win.
The real key to the game-ending surge was the BC defense, as they forced 12 Spartan turnovers and Case missed five attempts from the floor and one free throw during the final 8:38. Bethany, who committed just eight turnovers in the contest, forced 29 miscues by Case and converted those into 38 points.
The balanced Bison attack was led by junior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) with 16 points, while a trio of Bethany players tallied 13, including Barton, Pacific and sophomore Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township), and Mabery tossed in 10.
Pacing the Spartan efforts was Austin Fowler with 20 markers. The tournament champion was Olivet (Mich.) College, who knocked off the host John Carroll 86-79 in Sunday’s championship match.
Next up for BC will be their conference opener, as they start PAC competition Wednesday night with an 8 p.m. tip-off at home against Westminster.