The Bison improved to 12-7 overall and 7-1 in the PAC with the win, which was their sixth straight this season and 12th in a row over the Yellow Jackets (7-11, 1-7).
Bethany looked like they would run Waynesburg out of the gym in the first 20 minutes. It was a two-point Bison lead before BC exploded for 17 consecutive points, capped by a four-point play from senior guard Brody Jackson (Akron, Ohio/Manchester) that gave the Green and White a 31-12 lead. Bethany led by as many as 28 in the first half before the Yellow Jackets trimmed it to a 49-25 contest at halftime.
Jackson enjoyed a stellar first half, stroking three three-pointers and dropping in 14 by the break for the Bison, who shot 54 percent (20-37) as a team in the first half. Waynesburg was limited to just 32 percent (9-28) shooting in the first half, as the PAC’s leading scorer Tim Drakeley was held to six.
The second half saw two completely different teams come out of the locker room. While the Bison were missing six of their first eight shots and committing seven turnovers, the Yellow Jackets knocked down 12 of their first 15 shots in the period during an incredible 29-4 spurt. Back-to-back baskets by Jason Clark capped the blitz, which saw the 24-point halftime lead evaporate and turn into a 54-53 Waynesburg lead with 13:14 to play.
The Yellow Jackets continued to surge and built a 72-65 advantage with five minutes to play. But that’s when the Bison captains Jackson and senior Marcus Adams (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) took over. Jackson started the game-ending run with a trey and two free throws. Adams then tied the game with a pair of foul shots, then put his team on top for good with two more from the charity stripe. After each guard tallied a bucket to keep the Bison in the lead, Jackson calmly swished four free throws in the final 35 seconds to preserve the victory, which moved Bethany a game and a half in front of Grove City for first place in the PAC after the Wolverines lost 82-60 at Westminster Wednesday.
Jackson had another strong night in all phases of the game. He was 9-for-12 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from the arc, and sank all eight of his free throw attempts for 30 points. With his season-high, the 6-0 guard now has 980 for his career and needs 20 more to become the 21st player in Bethany history to score 1,000 for his career.
Three others hit for double digits for the Bison, led by sophomore Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) with 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Junior guard Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) fired in 12 and sophomore forward Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa/Canon-McMillan) contributed 11.
For Waynesburg, Drakeley recovered from his slow start to pour in 26, while Josh Parisi notched a double-double with 25 markers and 11 boards.
The Bison’s next game will be Saturday, when Jackson will try to reach the 1,000-point milestone at Geneva (Pa.) College in a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. Although the game will not count in the PAC standings since the Golden Tornadoes are a provisional member of the NCAA, Bethany will be trying for a season sweep after beating Geneva 96-81 back on Dec. 8.