Dec. 3 - CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. - The Bethany men’s basketball team built a 40-29 halftime lead, but the Bison shot just 29 percent (8-28) in the second half, as Thomas More rallied for a 75-61 victory Wednesday night in Crestview Hills, Ky.
Sophomore Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio) fired in 12 and sophomore Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) canned a three late in the first half to send Bethany to the locker room with an 11-point lead. Bethany (4-3, 0-1) shot 51.5 percent (17-33) from the floor in the opening half and held the Saints (4-1, 1-0) to 32 percent accuracy (10-31). The teams were also even on the boards with 20 rebounds apiece.
The second half was a complete turnaround from the first. Thomas More scored the first seven points to get within four. Bethany was able to push their lead back out to 48-39 on a three from senior Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central), but TMC responded with a 13-2 spurt to take a 52-50 advantage. The Bison were able to move back in front 55-54 on a three-point play from junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) at the 5:55 mark. The Saints controlled the rest of the contest, outscoring BC 21-6 down the stretch, as Bethany missed five shots from the floor, three free throws and committed five turnovers during the home team’s comeback.
While the Saints shot much better in the second half as compared to the Bison (52 percent to 29), the other key to the turnaround was on the glass. Thomas More posted a 25-11 rebounding advantage in the final 20 minutes, which included eight offensive caroms that led to 13 second chance points.
Matz led the Bison by setting a new career-high with 16 points, while Testa was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor to finish with 14 markers. Pacing Thomas More was Daniel McKeehan with 24 points, 11 rebounds and four assists and Romell Salone, who came off the bench to total 16 points.
Bethany will try to even their conference record on Saturday when they host Waynesburg in a PAC tilt. Tip-off at Hummel Field House is scheduled for 4 p.m.