Jan. 25 - BEAVER FALLS, Pa. – After junior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) scored 19 first-half points to give the Bethany College men’s basketball team a nine-point halftime lead, the Bison shot 55 percent in the second half to pull away for a 71-54 win at Geneva Wednesday night.
The victory marked a milestone for BC (17-2, 9-1), who has won 17 games in nine consecutive games. The Golden Tornadoes now stand at 4-14 overall and 3-7 in the PAC.
Mabery and the Bison defense set the stage in the first half. Bethany turned 16 Geneva turnovers into 18 points and Mabery was 8-for-11 from the floor for 19 points before halftime. He scored six straight to put the Green and White a 33-19 lead with four minutes left for their biggest lead of the period. The hosts answered with seven straight points, but a dunk by senior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) closed the half with the Bison on top 35-26.
The Golden Tornadoes stayed within striking distance early in the second half and were within six at 40-34 when Matt Lorello hit a lay-up with 16:35 to play. Bethany put the game away over the next eight minutes, using an 18-4 run to take a 58-38 advantage. Junior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) fired in eight and Alexander and junior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) had dunks to highlight the run.
The Bison would go to take their sixth straight victory over Geneva by creating 26 GT turnovers, which Bethany used to overcome a season-low three three-pointers.
Mabery’s big first half propelled him to a game-high 21 points and he added six steals and five rebounds as well. Wilcox hit a milestone in the triumph, as he scored 15 points, which gives him 981 for his career, and he pulled down seven boards to go over 500 for his career.
Other highlights to the victory included Barton scoring 13, Alexander posting his fifth double-double of the year with 11 points and 10 boards, and Pacific chipping in 11.
Also registering a double-double was Geneva’s Keynon Jackson with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Dave Phillips and Lorello scored 10 apiece.
The Bison are now off for a week before making the road trip to Thomas More next Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.