The Bison improved to 10-7 overall and 5-1 in the PAC, which kept them in a tie for first place in the league with Grove City. W&J falls to 6-10 and 3-3 on the year.
There were seven ties and six lead changes in a first half in which neither team led by more five points. The Presidents biggest lead came early at 7-2, while a 12-4 BC spurt later in the half gave the Green and White a 28-23 lead. W&J’s Nick Morelli canned a triple late in the half and despite a basket just before the horn by Jackson, the hosts carried a 39-38 lead into intermission.
Bethany stayed close in the contest by holding a 19-2 edge in second chance points, but the Presidents built their slim margin by shooting 60 percent (15-25). Jackson tallied a hard-earned 11 by the break, while W&J was led by Wahab Owolabi with 14.
The teams swapped baskets and the lead throughout the first five minutes of the second half before Bethany junior Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) swished a three to put BC in front 53-50 with 14:32 to go. The shot also ignited an 18-6 run by the Bison which featured six points from Jackson and a three and jumper from freshman Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio) to cap the spurt, which had Bethany in front 68-56 with 7:23 on the clock.
Bethany’s control of the game slipped away over the final minutes of regulation, as W&J mounted a 17-5 surge to close regulation and force the game into overtime. The Presidents tied the game at 73 on a Owolabi hoop with 14 seconds to play, then had a chance to win when they forced a turnover with nine ticks showing. However, Owolabi’s attempted game-winner at the buzzer was blocked by Bethany sophomore Ryan Besancon (Wooster, Ohio/Waynedale) to send the game into OT.
In the extra session, W&J’s Josip Lucic-Jozak scored the first five points of the period and BC was facing an 80-75 deficit with less than two minutes to go. That’s when Bethany’s senior captains stepped up. Adams scored first to make it a three-point game, then after he made a steal, Jackson got loose on an inbounds and hit a lay-up to bring the Bison within one at 80-79.
Following a W&J free throw, BC went in front for good when Jackson drilled a trey with 59 seconds left. Jackson would add two foul shots with 25 seconds left, which was followed by a pair from Adams with 12 to play that gave Bethany an 86-83 lead. The Green and White still had to watch as a three in the closing seconds from W&J’s Albert Varacallo was short, which enabled the Bison to pull out the heart-stopping win.
The Bison were carried to victory by their starting backcourt of Jackson and Adams. Jackson registered his first career double-double with 27 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, eight of which were offensive that led to numerous second chance points for Bethany. Adams was 8-for-11 from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe for a career-high 23 points. He also added four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Varacallo led the home team with 23 points, followed closely by Owolabi with 22 and Lucic-Jozak with an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double.
The second half of the PAC schedule will begin Saturday for the Bison when they journey to Thomas More (Ky.) College for a 3 p.m. tip-off. Bethany will be aiming to avenge an 87-78 loss on Dec. 1 to the Saints (8-9, 4-2), who lost 72-56 to Saint Vincent Wednesday.