The Bison were forced to play catch up from the start, as the Bearcats put the first 11 points of the game on the board and raced out to a 29-12 lead with seven minutes left in the first half. Bethany used the three-pointer to climb back into the game, as senior guard Brody Jackson (Akron, Ohio/Manchester) buried consecutive treys to ignite an 18-7 half-ending run, which featured five triples, that trimmed the SVC lead to 36-30 at the break.
Overall, the Green and White shot 34 percent (11-32) in the opening half, while Saint Vincent connected on 13-of-31 from the floor (42 percent). Leading Bethany with eight points at intermission was Jackson and the Bearcats were paced by Joey Butler’s 10.
SVC’s leading scorer Ian McCollough registered his team’s first seven points of the second half to help the hosts extend their margin back to 11 at 47-36. Bethany responded with a 16-3 spurt which gave them their first lead of the game. Jackson banked in a three to even the score at 50 and sophomore forward Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) hit a jumper on the next possession, which put BC in front 52-50 with 11:52 to play.
The Bearcats shrugged off the Bison surge to again pull out to a comfortable lead, as Billy Bains’ three had Saint Vincent on top 66-60 with 6:12 left. The Bison answered with an 11-1 run, highlighted by a trifecta and jumper from Jackson, and when senior guard Marcus Adams (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) hit a pull-up jumper with 2:45 remaining, they had their biggest lead at 71-67.
Needing a rally, Saint Vincent would rip off seven straight points to take a 74-71 lead. BC junior guard Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) knocked down a jumper with 20 seconds to play to bring the Bison within a point, but Butler broke loose on the ensuing inbounds play, which led to a basket and a foul. He hit the free throw to make it a four-point game and all Morando’s three with a second to play did was make it a one-point win for SVC, which was their 10th in a row.
Jackson finished with a team-high 21 points for Bethany, which included going a perfect 5-for-5 from the arc. Three others tallied double figures, including Morando with 12 and Ankrom and junior forward Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) with 10 each. Jackson and Adams each handed out four assists, while Petkovski led the efforts on the glass with seven boards.
The Bearcats were led by McCollough, who notched 15 of his game-high 22 in the second half. Butler added 18 points and Bains chipped in with 16.
The Bison return to action Wednesday night with a 6 p.m. tip-off against Grove City, which will be a battle for first place in the PAC. At 8-1, the Bison are a game in front of the Wolverines after GCC knocked off Thomas More 62-58 in Kentucky on Saturday. Bethany won the first meeting between the schools by a 73-53 count on Jan. 12 in Grove City.