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 POST FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN WITH 75-63 DECISION OVER GENEVA

Jan. 29 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Behind five scorers in double digits and a defense that limited Geneva’s high-scoring offense to its second-lowest point total of the year, the Bethany College men’s basketball team defeated the Golden Tornadoes 75-63 Saturday afternoon at Hummel Field House.

Bethany (14-5) was forced to climb out of a hole from the beginning, as Geneva (14-5) opened the game with threes from Dave Phillips and Bryan Hill. There would be six ties and four lead changes in the opening stanza, but the GTs scored five of the final seven points of the period to take a 31-30 advantage into the halftime break. The first half stats were nearly even across the board through the first 20 minutes, although Geneva did convert 6-of-13 three-point opportunities compared to BC’s 4-for-11 shooting from deep.

It was still a one-point Geneva margin five minutes into the second half when Bethany went on the decisive run. A traditional three-point play by sophomore James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) ignited a 12-0 Green and White run that gave the hosts a 49-38 advantage at the 11:50 mark. The GT’s would cut the deficit to single digits three times, the final occasion coming when Phillips cashed in another triple to bring the visitors within 59-50 with 6:29 to go.

The Bison had an immediate answer when senior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) cashed in a trey on the ensuing possession. Following two foul shots by Geneva, sophomore Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) hit a jumper and then finished a conventional three-point play to swell the cushion to 67-52 and Bethany didn’t look back from there.

After the solid first half from the arc, Geneva made only 2-of-13 tries in the final 20 minutes. The Golden Tornadoes came into the game averaging just under 80 points, but the 63 they tallied Saturday was the second-lowest for the season behind only a 75-62 loss at home to Bethany on Dec. 11.

The Bison offense was as balanced as their defense was solid. Junior forward British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) recorded his fourth double-double of the season and second straight with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Wilcox just missed the same feat with 15 markers and nine boards. Barton came off the bench to tally 15 as well and the double-digit scorers were rounded out by junior guard Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) and sophomore forward Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski Area) with 10 each.

Geneva had four players finish with 10 or more, led by Phillips and Richard Colick with 12 apiece, Hill with 11 and Matt Lorello tossed in 10 off the bench.

Although the win doesn’t count in the PAC standings, as Geneva is in their final year if transitioning to NCAA Division III status, the Bison, who are 7-2 and in second place in the PAC, continued to build momentum late in the year. They will put their five-game winning streak on the line Wednesday when they host Thiel (13-6, 8-1) at 8 p.m. with first place in the conference on the line.