Feb. 9 - LATROBE, Pa. – Sophomore James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) led four scorers in double figures with 19 points and the Bethany College men’s basketball team, who led by 17 at halftime, held off a late charge by Saint Vincent to post a 65-57 victory Wednesday night in Latrobe.
The win kept the Bison alone in second place in the PAC, as they improved to 16-6 and 9-3 in the conference. The Bearcats lost for just the second time in the last 10 games and fell to 15-7 and 7-4.
Bethany scored the first six points of the game and dominated the first half from start to finish. Barton and junior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) scored 10 points each, as BC shot a sizzling 60 percent (15-25) in building a 35-18 halftime lead. As hot as the Bison shooting was, Saint Vincent was just as cold, as they hit 23 percent (8-35), including just 1-for-13 from the three-point line.
A pair of lay-ups from Barton keyed a 10-0 Bethany run early in the second half to balloon their cushion to 45-25 with 13 minutes left. The Bearcats finally started to heat up offensively, as they slowly chipped into the BC lead. After getting the margin down to 13, Saint Vincent then went on a 16-6 run and when Mike Burroughs hit a lay-up with 2:01 remaining, the hosts were within 60-57.
The Bison would keep the Bearcats at bay the rest of the game, using free throws to extend the lead while Saint Vincent went cold again from the floor. Bethany made 5-of-8 from the charity stripe down the stretch and SVC did not manage another point, as they missed their final seven shots. The Bison were able to come away with the win despite being outrebounded 45-31.
Barton led all scorers in the game with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Alexander scored 17 points and blocked five shots to take over the conference lead in that category. Sophomore Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) turned in his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds and sophomore Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) finished with 13 points and six steals.
Leading Saint Vincent in the defeat was B.J. McGill with 14 points and Tauvon Pettiford with 13.
Bethany will face another challenge for second place Saturday when they host Thomas More (12-10, 8-3), who crushed Waynesburg 105-82 Wednesday to stay a half-game behind the Bison. Tip-off at Hummel Field House Saturday is set for 4 p.m.