Bethany Goes to Saint Vincent in Early First Place PAC Showdown
Jan. 4 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Sole possession of first place in the PAC will be on the line Saturday when the Bethany College men’s basketball team goes to Saint Vincent. Tip-off at the Carey Center in Latrobe, Pa., will be at 3 p.m.
The Bison took their conference record to 5-0 Wednesday night with a dominating 76-51 victory at Westminster. A 17-2 run over the final eight minutes of the first half gave BC a 40-22 lead at halftime and the Titans never moved closer than 13 in the second half. Senior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) cashed in all four of his three-point attempts after halftime and tallied a game-high 20 points, while senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) scored 18 and junior Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) netted 16.
While Bethany leans heavily on its four-man senior class of Wilcox, Pacific, James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.), who recently became the 24th men’s player in school history to go over 1,000 career points, and Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands), the emergence of Addy (right) has been a big boost. He was already putting up solid numbers through the early stages of the season, but over the last seven games, the 6-5 forward is averaging 13 and 10 boards an outing. In addition to ranking fifth in the league with 7.3 rebounds a game, Addy is first in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3).
The series between Bethany and Saint Vincent has provided many entertaining games that usually go down to the wire. The Bison have managed to win six of the last seven match-ups to take an 11-8 advantage in the all-time series. Included in that stretch are three BC victories at the Carey Center, where the Bearcats are 26-7 over the last 2+ seasons. Last year, Bethany closed out the regular season with a 76-64 win in Latrobe behind five double-digit scorers.
This season, Saint Vincent (9-4, 4-0) is 3-1 on their home floor, but is coming off an impressive win on the road Wednesday. Point guard Chris Klimchock drilled a three at the buzzer to force the game into overtime and then he scored four in the extra period to lift SVC to a 61-57 triumph at Thiel. Klimchock and backcourt mate Edmund Wright scored 18 apiece to pace all scorers.
Saturday pits two of the top teams in the PAC in terms of protecting the basketball, as Bethany commits 10.7 turnovers per game, the least in the league, and the Bearcats turn it over 14.1 times, third-fewest in the circuit. Klimchock has a big hand in that, as he is off to a fantastic start in his senior season. He is fourth in the PAC with 16.8 points per game while also ranking third in assists (3.5) and three-pointers (32) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6). Bethany will also have to contend with Dillon Stith, the 6-5 junior forward. He is averaging 9.3 points a game this year, but in the two meetings with the Bison last season, he averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.