Dec. 16 WBB vs. Hiram (L, 69-64); Dec. 17 MBB vs. St. John Fisher (L, 79-70); Dec. 31 MBB vs. Ohio Northern (1:00 p.m.)
BETHANY MEN HOPE TO STAY PERFECT SATURDAY AGAINST GENEVA
Dec. 1 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After escaping with a narrow win in its PAC opener Wednesday night, the Bethany College men’s basketball team (5-0, 1-0) will try to keep its undefeated start to the season going when Geneva comes to Hummel Field House Saturday. Game time is slated for 4 p.m.
Despite playing without two starters Wednesday at Grove City, the Bison used a 22-10 spurt to close the game and come away with a 67-63 triumph over the Wolverines. Junior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) amassed 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals, junior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) netted 15 and freshman Dylan Gravatt (Franklin, Pa./Rocky Grove) came off the bench to score 10, including eight in the second half to help BC erase a nine-point halftime deficit.
Bethany continued a season-long trend of pounding the offensive glass. By grabbing 17 offensive caroms against the Wolverines, the Green and White remained atop the PAC rankings in the category, as they are averaging 15.6 per game. Wilcox, who is second in the conference in total rebounds with 7.4 a game, has been the top Bison chasing down missed shots with 4.60 offensive boards per outing. Five of his 10 rebounds were on the offensive end Wednesday and all came in the first half, as his work helped Bethany stay in the game despite shooting only 27 percent (9-34).
With a win Saturday, the Bison would not only start the conference schedule 2-0 for the third consecutive year but also match the 6-0 start by the 1966-67 team that captured the PAC Championship. Bethany would have a while to go to match the next best start in a season, as the 1963-64 squad ran the table to an 18-0 mark and a conference crown.
There have been 82 match-ups all-time between Bethany and Geneva, with the Golden Tornadoes holding a 55-27 series advantage. However, since Geneva started playing a full PAC schedule four years ago, the Bison have held the upper hand. The Green and White have won six of the eight meetings, including a sweep last year. In the meeting on BC’s home floor, Bethany overcame a one-point halftime deficit to win 75-63, as Wilcox, junior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) and senior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) all scored 15 points.
The Golden Tornadoes are eligible to compete for the PAC Championship for the first time after completing a transition period to NCAA Division III from the NAIA. The year began with a 64-44 win over Penn State-Greater Allegheny, but the season has hit a rough patch since then with five straight losses. The most recent was a 75-62 defeat at home to Thomas More Wednesday. Forward Matt Lorello led all scorers with 22 points, but it wasn’t enough to counter the Saints’ 40-26 rebounding advantage and 9-for-13 shooting from the arc.
The major bright spot to the sluggish beginning for Geneva is the play of Lorello. The 6-6 junior forward, who was last week’s PAC Player of the Week, is putting up eye-popping numbers, as he leads the conference in scoring with 21.5 points and field goal percentage at an astounding 71.0 percent while also hauling down 7.3 rebounds per game, which is third-best in the PAC. Senior forward Dave Phillips is also hitting for double figures at 11.0 per game and senior forward Lambros Svingos is averaging 10.0 points a game despite missing four games due to injury.