BETHANY BEATS WAYNESBURG TO SET UP PAC SHOWDOWN WEDNESDAY
Jan. 7 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team held visiting Waynesburg to just 14 first-half points and coasted to a 73-45 victory Saturday afternoon to remain undefeated in PAC play.
The Bison improved to 13-1 overall and 5-0 in the conference, which is their best start in PAC play since opening 5-0 in 2006-07. It also kept them right with Thiel, who is also undefeated in the league so far. The Yellow Jackets dropped to 3-11 and 0-5 in the conference.
Waynesburg used a trio of treys from Larry Alexander, the last coming at the 14:28 mark, to take an early 9-4 lead. Bethany responded with 14 consecutive points, 10 coming from junior forward Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) to seize control. The blitz reached 24-1 before the Yellow Jackets hit another field goal and the Bison kept pulling away to construct a comfortable 39-14 halftime lead when junior guard Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) buried a three from just inside the half court line as the buzzer sounded.
Bethany’s defense was suffocating in the first half, forcing 13 Waynesburg miscues and limiting the Jackets to 23 percent (5-22) shooting. On the other end, Wilcox poured in 16 by the break and junior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) canned three three-pointers to tally 14.
The BC advantage grew to as large as 34 in the second half on a traditional three-point play by Mabery to swell the cushion to 58-24 midway through the period. Senior forward British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) started rolling in the second half after a sluggish start that included zero points and one rebound in the first. He nearly posted a double-double with 10 points, eight boards and two blocks all after halftime, as the Bison extended their winning streak over Waynesburg to 19 games dating back to the 2002-03 season.
Four players reached double digits for the Green and White in the triumph, led by Wilcox. He posted his fifth double-double of the year and second in a row with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Pacific was next up with 17 points off the bench and Mabery notched 16 markers and a game-high four steals. Alexander’s big second half gave him 10 points, nine rebounds and three rejections on the afternoon.
For the Yellow Jackets, Alexander’s big start left him as high point man with nine and Jason Probst came off the bench to register eight points and team-highs of four rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Saturday’s win sets up a huge early-season showdown Wednesday night at Bethany with the top spot in the PAC at stake. Thiel (9-4, 6-0), who won last year’s PAC regular season title, will come to Hummel Field House to battle the Bison, who earned the conference tournament crown with a 74-67 victory at Thiel. Tip-off Wednesday is scheduled for 8 p.m.