Feb. 18 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team will begin pursuit of its third straight PAC Tournament championship when the fourth-seeded Bison host #5 Washington & Jefferson in a quarterfinal match-up slated for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Admission to all PAC Championship Tournament contests is $5 for adults and $2 for students, with students at PAC host institutions admitted for free with valid ID. For those fans unable to make it to the game, you can watch the Bethany Broadcast Network’s live coverage, as well as live stats through the game, at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/bethanywv.portal# .
This will be the second time in four days the long-time rivals will lock horns on the hardwood, as Bethany (16-9, 10-6) came away with a hard-fought 74-63 victory at W&J (8-17, 6-10) Saturday in the regular season finale. The game was tied at 28-28 at halftime and the Bison had four players with two or more fouls. But the Bison turned to senior Reece Mabery (right - Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands), who scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half, and junior Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti), who notched 12 of his 14 after intermission, to provide the lift needed to claim the win and end a three-game losing streak.
Also in the win, senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) recorded his sixth double-double of the season and 17th of his career with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Now with 779 career boards, he vaulted past Kendall Hayes into sixth place on the all-time rebounding list at Bethany. In addition, Wilcox (below right) passed out five assists and made four steals in the win Saturday. Already the school’s all-time leader in steals, he surpassed 300 (303) for his tenure at Bethany in the victory.
While Bethany and W&J have played 170 times so far, Tuesday night will be the fifth time they have faced off in the PAC Tournament. The Bison have won three of the first four meetings, including an 82-69 triumph in last year’s semifinals, which advanced BC into the championship game where they would defeat Thomas More 58-53 to win the program’s 14th PAC championship. The lone President win in the tournament was a 78-75 victory at Bethany in the 2007 semifinals. That was the lone defeat Bethany has suffered at home in the league playoffs, as the Green and White is 17-1 on their home floor all-time in the tournament and 20-5 overall.
In Saturday’s contest, W&J streaked out to an 11-point lead early in the first half before Bethany came back to even the count at the break. Following halftime, the Presidents committed 10 turnovers and went just 2-for-9 from the foul line as the Bison pulled away. The W&J offense was led by the Bellhy brothers, with senior guard Zach amassing 22 points and 11 rebounds and sophomore forward Nate accounting for 18 points and 10 boards, while Mitch Locher came off the bench to chip in 11 points.
Containing the Bellhy brothers will be a concern for the Bison Tuesday night. In two games this season versus BC, Nate is averaging 20.5 points and seven rebounds per game. In Zach’s last five games against Bethany dating back to last year, he has totaled 22 or more points in four of those. Although W&J will have to play on the road to open the tournament, the Presidents’ have proven to be a tough out once playoff action begins. They have advanced to the semifinal round or further in five of the last six seasons, including last year when as the seventh-seed, they shocked #2 Thiel on their home floor 91-89 before losing to Bethany in the semifinals.