The triumph moves the Bison (14-7, 8-1) a game and a half in front of idle Grove City for first place in the PAC. The Tomcats saw their three-game winning streak end and are now 9-10 and 4-5.
Bethany threatened to pull away a couple times in the opening half, only to see Thiel close the gap and stay within striking distance. The visitors moved within a basket at 30-28 on two Devon Adams free throws with six minutes left in the half. That would be followed by an 18-4 run by BC to close the half, which gave the Bison a 48-32 lead going into the locker room. Sophomore forward Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) tallied eight during the spurt, including a pair of threes to help ignite it.
Senior guard Brody Jackson (Akron, Ohio/Manchester) led all scorers at the break with 13 and Ankrom scored 10 for the Bison, who shot 62 percent (18-29) through the first 20 minutes. The Tomcats were led by big man Tommy Hall with 10.
Thiel came out in the second half looking to duplicate the success Waynesburg had last week at Bethany, when the Yellow Jackets erased a 24-point halftime lead but still lost 82-78 to the Bison. And the Tomcats made a run back into the game early in the second period, as back-to-back treys from Nick Sefscik and Adams allowed TC to trim the deficit to single digits at 58-49 with 14:48 to play.
There would be no large comeback on this night however, as the Bison sprinted away from the Tomcats with an 18-5 blitz that pushed their lead to 80-56. Testa was the highlight to the run, as he hit a three to open it and tallied 14 of the points during that stretch. Bethany’s lead swelled to as large as 28 at one time, as they clinched their 11th consecutive win over the Tomcats.
Testa’s big night saw him go 9-for-11 from the floor in scoring his new high of 22 and the 11 rebounds gave him the first double-double of the campaign and second of his career. He was joined in double figures by Jackson with 21, senior guard Marcus Adams (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) with 14 and Ankrom with a dozen.
For the Tomcats, Hall led the way with 17 and Adams and Sefscik each totaled 11. The Bison held Joe Herrmann, the third-leading scorer in the PAC at the start of the night with better than 18 points per game, to just nine markers.
Bethany returns to action Saturday with a road game at Saint Vincent that is slated to tip-off at 8 p.m. The game will not count in the PAC standings, as the Bearcats are transitioning to NCAA Division III status and the PAC, but it will pit the two hottest teams in the conference. The Bison will put their eight-game winning streak on the line, while SVC has won nine in a row, including a 66-64 victory over Geneva Wednesday.