BETHANY DROPS GENEVA 75-67 FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT VICTORY
Jan. 30 - BEAVER FALLS, Pa. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team turned 18 offensive rebounds into 31 second-chance points, as they rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat Geneva 75-67 Saturday for their fifth consecutive triumph.
Junior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) scored five during a 9-0 run early on that gave the Bison (14-5) a 20-11 cushion midway through the first half. Geneva (11-9) started chipping away with seven consecutive points and stayed close until a pair of T.J. Bevilacqua foul shots with four seconds left in the half gave the home team a 36-35 lead at the break.
The Bison were able to withstand 18 first-half points from Geneva’s Rich Colick by dominating the offensive glass, as they grabbed nine missed shots and turned those into 16 second-chance points.
Bethany set the tone for the second half right out of the gate, as senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) drilled a triple on the opening possession and then an offensive rebound led to a score by senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) to give the Green and White a four-point lead just over a minute into the second half. The BC advantage swelled to 56-46 at the midway point of the period following back-to-back hoops by senior Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan).
Geneva managed to stay close and a Colick jumper sliced the BC lead down to 61-58 with four minute to go. But Bethany was able to hang on with solid free throw shooting, as they connected on 10-of-12 from the charity stripe in the closing minutes to put the win away and improve to 7-2 on the road this season.
The battle on the boards, won by the Bison by a 38-30 count for the game, told the story in the second half. Bethany matched their effort from the first half in the second with nine more offensive caroms that were converted into 15 points.
Bethany’s scoring was spearheaded by Testa, who shook off second half foul trouble to finish with 19 points and seven rebounds. The top effort on the boards was turned in by Lyonett with 16 markers and 10 rebounds, including seven offensive, for his first career double-double. Rounding out the double digit scorers for BC was Opalka and Ankrom with 12 each.
For Geneva, Colick’s final numbers included 29 points and 14 rebounds, while Nathan Reep came off the bench to drop in 12.
Despite the win, Bethany dropped back to second in the PAC, as Grove City defeated Waynesburg Saturday to take over the top spot in the league with a 7-2 mark. The Bison find themselves tied for second now with Thomas More at 6-2 after the Saints knocked off Westminster. With Grove City idle Wednesday and Thomas More playing Geneva, the Bison have a chance to draw even with GCC on Wednesday when they travel to Thiel (10-9, 3-4) to take on a streaking Tomcats team that has won four straight. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.