BETHANY EARNS INVITATION TO ECAC SOUTH REGION TOURNAMENT
March 2 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After finishing with a 17-11 record and taking second place in the PAC regular season standings and tournament, the Bethany men’s basketball team has earned a bid to the ECAC South Region Tournament, which will begin with quarterfinal play Wednesday night.
The Bison received the #5 seed in the Tournament and will travel to #4 Penn State Behrend for a 7 p.m. tip-off Wednesday night. Bethany is one of three PAC programs in the field, as #6 Washington & Jefferson (17-10) will travel to #3 Pitt-Bradford (17-11) and #7 Grove City (12-12) will journey to #2 Catholic (D.C.) University (17-9) for quarterfinal games on Wednesday.
The top-seed for the Tournament is Cabrini (20-7), based out of Radnor, Pa., outside of Philadelphia, who is hosting eighth-seeded Penn State-Altoona (14-12). If Bethany defeats Penn State Behrend, they would play the Cabrini/PSU-Altoona winner in the semifinals, while the Pitt-Bradford/W&J winner matches up with the victor of the Catholic/Grove City contest. Saturday’s semifinal winners will square off Sunday in the championship game.
The Bison are making their ninth postseason appearance in school history after winning five of their last six games. Bethany defeated Thiel (74-69) and Westminster (71-67) in the PAC Tournament before dropping the title game at Thomas More. Freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) tallied 16 points and sophomore Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio) fired in 15, but it wasn’t enough as the Saints shot 76 percent from the floor in the second half to pull away for a 91-65 victory.
Bethany, who is averaging 75.6 points per game, is led by three players in double digits. Beckwith is firing in 15.8 per game and also leads the team in free throw percentage (81.0) and steals (51). Junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) has eight double-doubles this year and is totaling 12.1 points and a team-leading 7.7 boards per game. Senior Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) rounds out the top scorers with 11.6 markers and is second with 5.9 rebounds per game.
This is the Bison’s fifth straight trip to the postseason, which has included three NCAA appearances and one berth in the ECAC. Bethany is in search of their first playoff win since a 110-98 victory at Pitt-Bradford in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. BC’s first two appearances in the ECAC Tournament ended with first round losses, as they fell at Frostburg State in 2001 and were defeated by Juniata 72-62 in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Tournament.
This ECAC appearance features a familiar foe for the Bison, as this will be the 20th meeting all-time between the schools and the second this year. Behrend leads the series 15-4, including a 71-66 triumph on Nov. 21 in the opening round of the Lions’ Tip-Off Tournament. Bethany was led by senior Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central), who canned five three-pointers and totaled 17 points. Behrend was spearheaded by three players in double figures, including Drew Seker with 17 and Adam Kaiser with 16.
The Lions finished the year with a 17-9 record and went 13-5 in the AMCC to finish second in the regular season standings. After earning a bye into the semifinals of the conference tournament, they were knocked off by Pitt-Bradford 62-54, their third loss in their last five games. Behrend, who has a 10-2 record at home this season, is also an experienced postseason program, as this will be their eighth straight playoff appearance.
For the season, the Lions are averaging 65.0 points per game and allowing just 59.7. Their top scorer and rebounder is 6-5 forward Adam Potter, who is dropping in 13.3 points and hauling down 6.0 boards per game. The perimeter game is led by Kaiser, a 5-10 junior guard, with 13.2 markers a contest and he is the top three-point shooter with 80 treys in 190 attempts (42.1 percent).