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Bethany Looks to Keep Pace in PAC Saturday at Waynesburg
Jan. 18 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After dropping two of their last three games to complete the first half of the PAC schedule, the Bethany College men’s basketball team will try to start the second half with a victory Saturday, as the Bison travel to Waynesburg to take on the Yellow Jackets at 3:30 p.m.
Bethany’s recent roller coaster of a season took a downward turn Wednesday when BC shot a frigid 27.8 percent and committed a season-high 19 turnovers in a 63-51 loss to visiting Thomas More. After the Green and White took an early 13-5 lead, TMC outscored the Bison 23-8 the rest of the half to build a seven-point halftime lead. The Saints quickly pushed the advantage to double digits early in the second half and cruised to the win to remain in first place in the conference, while the Bison dropped to 6-2 in the league and one game behind Thomas More and Saint Vincent for the top spot.
The up-and-down nature of the Bison offense continued Wednesday. After setting a season-low by hitting 32 percent of its shots in a loss at Carnegie Mellon Jan. 7th, BC exploded to shoot 59 percent and sink 15 three-pointers in a 37-point victory over Washington & Jefferson Jan. 12th. Bethany’s struggles against Thomas More saw them score nine points in the final two minutes just to reach 51 in the game, which is their lowest output since a 76-48 loss at John Carroll in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The team’s 27.8 shooting percentage is also the team’s lowest figure since BC made just 24.1 percent in a 59-46 defeat to Grove City on Jan. 19, 2000.
In addition to trying to keep pace with Thomas More (at Grove City Saturday) and Saint Vincent (off) in the conference race, Bethany will be attempting to continue its success against Waynesburg. The Bison’s run against the Yellow Jackets spans nearly 10 years and 22 games following BC’s 92-67 triumph Nov. 28th. It was just an eight-point Bison lead at halftime, but they shot 68 percent in the second half to pull away for the victory. All four BC seniors scored in double digits in the win, led by Nick Wilcox (right - Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) with 16 and James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) with 15, while Waynesburg was led by Jason Propst with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Waynesburg (6-11, 1-7) will be trying to break a three-game skid Saturday. In their most recent outing, the Yellow Jackets fell behind Saint Vincent 25-4 midway through the first half, only to storm back to get within 32-28 at halftime. Waynesburg moved as close as two with 14 minutes to play before SVC went on a 13-2 surge to take control and go on to an 80-67 triumph. Spearheading the Jackets was the talented forward duo of Propst, who scored 23 in the loss, and Jacob Fleegle, who notched 21.
Much of the Yellow Jacket offense runs through their two forwards, as Propst is averaging a team-best 13.0 points per game and Fleegle is second with 11.2 while Thomas Ellis is a spark off the bench with 10.2 points per game. Propst is also Waynesburg’s leading rebounder with 6.8 per game, good for sixth in the conference, while Ellis grabs 5.6 a contest. Their efforts help the Jackets rank second behind only Bethany in offensive rebounds with 14.5 per game.