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BETHANY ONE WIN AWAY FROM #1 SEED AFTER BEATING WESTMINSTER
Feb. 15 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team shot 67 percent (20-30) in the second half and had six players score in double digits, as the Bison maintained their hold on first place in the PAC with a 91-65 victory over Westminster Wednesday on Senior Night.
The win, which took BC’s records to 21-3 overall and 13-2 in the PAC, leaves the Bison one win away from clinching the #1 seed and home court advantage throughout next week’s PAC Tournament. The Titans fell to 6-18 and 4-11 in the league.
Bethany came out sluggish offensively in the opening stanza, as its first points didn’t come until junior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) hit a jumper with three minutes off the clock. It was only an 18-16 BC advantage midway through the period when the hosts took charge. The Green and White outscored Westminster 22-11 the rest of the half to construct a 40-27 lead going into the intermission.
Keying the Bison surge was a defense that forced 10 turnovers, which were converted into 13 points. Juniors Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) and Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) had eight points apiece, while the Titans stayed in the game behind 13 markers from Anthony Thomas.
Bethany looked like they had the game under control early in the second half, as a three from junior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) capped a 16-5 run that swelled the Bison cushion to 58-35. However, Westminster made things interesting, as they staged a 14-4 charge that sliced the Bison advantage to 69-58 with 5:22 left following a pair of Adam Carswell foul shots.
In the blink of an eye, the Bison regained control. It took just under two minutes to rip off 12 consecutive points and following back-to-back three-point plays by sophomore Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) and Wilcox, the BC cushion was back up 81-58. Bethany, who found out earlier in the day they had cracked the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Rankings at #6, cruised from there in posting its 10th consecutive victory over Westminster.
The Bison, who finished the game shooting a season-best 56.3 percent (36-64), also had six scorers tally double digits for the first time this year. Pacific came off the bench to ignite the offense with 19 points, while Wilcox had another huge game with 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Addy was solid with 14 markers, Barton hit for 12 and passed out five assists and Mabery chipped in with 11 points.
Before the game, Bethany honored its two seniors and both hit the scorebook. Recording his seventh double-double of the campaign was British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) with 12 points and 11 boards and Ryan Summers (Sistersville, W.Va./Tyler Consoliated) cashed in a three to help clinch the win.
The one win Bethany needs to take the top seed will have to come at Saint Vincent Saturday evening in a 6 p.m. tip-off. The Bison beat the Bearcats 77-63 in their first meeting Jan. 18th. Saint Vincent (18-6, 11-4) had a chance to make Saturday a game for the top seed, but they suffered an 81-74 loss at Thomas More (18-7, 13-3) Wednesday night, while Thiel (15-7, 12-3), who plays at home against Grove City Saturday, was off Wednesday.