Dec. 8 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Senior guard Brody Jackson (Akron, Ohio/Manchester) scored 18 to lead four scorers in double figures, as the Bethany College men’s basketball team tallied a 96-81 victory over visiting Geneva (Pa.) College Saturday for the 100th win in head coach Aaron Huffman’s career.
The Bison (5-3) seized control early in the game and never relinquished it in recording the win over the Golden Tornadoes (4-4), who are in their first season of transitioning from NAIA to NCAA Division III. Geneva led 13-12 with 11 minutes to play in the first half, but Jackson sparked a 12-0 spurt with two triples and a lay-in to put BC on top 24-13. The visitors cut their deficit to 26-18, but another Jackson three and a pair of treys from junior guard Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) highlighted an 11-2 run, which helped Bethany carry a 45-31 advantage into halftime.
Bethany didn’t let up to start the second half, as they notched 17 of the first 23 points of the half. Seven of those came from junior forward Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park), as the Green and White were staked out to a 62-37 lead. They went on to shoot 73 percent (16-22) in the second half and 53 percent (32-60) for the game in coasting to their second straight victory.
Jackson’s four three-pointers in the game helped him finish with 18 points and he also amassed five assists and five rebounds. Joining him in double digits was Petkovski with 15, Morando with 14 and sophomore forward Ryan Besancon (Wooster, Ohio/Waynedale) with 10.
Pacing the Geneva effort was forward Zac Northen with 16 points and eight rebounds, which helped the Golden Tornadoes post a 45-34 advantage on the glass.
The victory makes Huffman just one of three coaches in the 100-year history of Bethany men’s basketball to record 100 career victories. He joins John J. Knight (142 victories during his tenures from 1930-1948 and from 1951-1955) and H. Edgar Martin (138-65 record from 1955-1966) as the only coaches out of 23 in Bison history to reach triple figures in victories.
“To me, it’s so special to get 100 wins, especially here at Bethany because of joining the same company as John J. Knight and Edgar Martin,” said Huffman, whose winning percentage of .690 is the highest of any BC coach. “I never had a chance to meet them, but I really wish I could have. They are legends here in the Valley and I have tremendous respect for them and their accomplishments. It is an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as them.”
Huffman was also quick to give credit to the players he’s had a chance to coach during his tenure, which began on the same day as the 2002-03 season preseason practice got underway, as well the assistant coaches he’s had work with him.
“In our program, we don’t stress individual accomplishments, but now that this is done and out of the way, it feels good,” said Huffman, the three-time PAC Coach of the Year. “But I’ve never looked at myself as a great coach. This is truly a credit to the program and to all the people who have played any role in the 100 wins.
“This couldn’t have been accomplished without all the great assistant coaches I’ve worked with,” said Huffman. “Especially my current assistant coach Mike Drahos, who’s been here for all 100 wins. First playing heavy minutes on the floor for the first four years and now doing everything he does on the bench, Mike’s played just as big of a role, if not bigger, in our success over the last six years than I have.
“And I can’t say how fortunate I’ve been to have talented kids as well,” said Huffman. “And I’m not just talking about the talent they have on the floor. I also mean the quality character of the players I’ve been fortunate enough to coach has been truly remarkable.”
Huffman and the Bison will try to earn win #101 on Monday night when they host Penn State-Altoona. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at Hummel Field House.