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Bethany Begins Final Stretch Wednesday vs. Westminster

Jan. 29 -BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team will open its final five-game stretch of the regular season Wednesday night when it hosts Westminster in an 8 p.m. tip-off.

9725Pacific12.jpg The Bison seem to have snapped out of a recent slide, as they won their second straight in convincing fashion Saturday with an 82-47 victory over visiting Grove City. A smothering defense keyed the win, as BC, who is now 8-3 in the PAC, held the Wolverines to 14 first-half points and harassed the visitors into 22 turnovers. A balanced Bison offense had four players finish in double digits, led by senior Brady Pacific (right - Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) with 16 and junior Tyrone Smothers (Baltimore, Md./Merganthaler) notched a season-best 12. While junior Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) had a team-leading five steals, senior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) had two thefts to reach 200 for his career.

Although Bethany is known more for its shooting ability, as the Green and White leads the PAC with 8.1 three-pointers per game, the Bison are also doing a solid job on the glass this season. After being out-rebounded in four of their first six games this year, BC has held the advantage on the boards in 10 of the last 14 outings. Despite having just two players on the roster all season who are listed at 6-5 or taller, the generally smaller Bison lead the conference in offensive rebounds (15.4) and are second in rebounding margin (+2.3). Senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) paces the efforts on the glass with 7.7 per game, good for third in the PAC, while Addy hauls down 6.7 boards, which is seventh.

5004Wilcox12.jpg Whether it’s been strong outside shooting, good work on the glass or playing stingy defense, the Bison have done whatever is needed to put together a lengthy winning streak against Westminster recently. In the first meeting with the Titans on Jan. 2nd, BC held Westminster without a field goal for the final nine minutes of the first half in building a 40-22 halftime lead. After the break, Bethany made 6-of-7 from the arc to continue to pull away for a 76-51 win, BC’s 11th straight over the Titans dating back to Jan., 2008. The Bison front court controlled the game, as Pacific led all scorers with 20, Wilcox (right) posted 18 and Addy fired in 16. Leading Westminster in the game was guard Doug Smith with 17 points.

The Titans (6-13, 2-9) continued to be a tough play on their home court with a hard-fought 82-70 loss Saturday to co-conference leader Saint Vincent. In a physical match-up that had 55 foul shots attempted between the teams, Westminster couldn’t overcome an 11-point halftime deficit. Point guard Anthony Thomas tallied 18 points in the game and was joined in double figures by Ron Martino with 16 and brothers Adam and Paul Carswell with 12 points each.

Westminster has recorded a 6-4 mark at home this season, but are looking for their first win outside of New Wilmington, as they bring a 0-9 road record to Bethany Wednesday. And while Bethany is one of the top rebounding teams in the league, the Titans rank ninth in the circuit in rebounding margin (-5.0). Westminster does possess a dynamic backcourt combination in point guard Anthony Thomas and Smith on the wing. Smith ranks third in the PAC with 16.8 points per game and first with 3.1 three-pointers a contest. Thomas comes in eighth in scoring with 14.3 markers a game and ranks second by dishing out 3.5 assists.