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BETHANY IN POSITION FOR #2 SEED AFTER HOLDING OFF WESTMINSTER
Feb. 18 - BETHANY, W.Va. –The Bethany men’s basketball team (14-10, 8-3) remained alive for the #2 seed in next week’s PAC Tournament by fending off a tough Westminster (8-16, 7-5) squad Wednesday night for an 82-77 triumph at Hummel Field House.
Bison sophomore Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) scored a minute into the game and BC led the rest of the first half. The advantage was as large as 11 at one time, as junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) sandwiched a lay-in and a trey around two foul shots from freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) to give BC a 34-23 lead. However, the Titans chipped away and after a three from Louie Pasani and a lay-up from Ryne Murray late in the half, Bethany’s lead was just 40-37 at the break.
The hosts scored the first two baskets of the second half, but Westminster bounced right back. When Anthony DeFelice and Pasani drilled threes on consecutive possessions, the Titans took their first lead of the night at 50-48. Bethany would tie the game on the next possession, as two offensive rebounds led to senior Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) getting fouled. He made both foul shots to knot the score and after a McFadden steal, Petkovski rifled in a triple to give BC a lead they would not relinquish again.
That doesn’t mean the victory came easily. Westminster would cut their deficit to one on three occasions, the final coming when Max Spinner hit a runner in the lane to draw the Titans within a point at 78-77 with 2:32 to play. Testa scored underneath to run the Bethany lead back to 80-77 and Westminster went cold the rest of the way, as they missed their final five shots in the game. The Bison missed a couple foul shots to keep it close, but two Petkovski free throws with 21 seconds left was enough to put the game away.
Pacing the Bison to the victory with 27 points was Beckwith. It was the fourth time this season the 6-0 guard has tallied 27 or more on a contest. He was joined in double digits by Testa, who recorded hit sixth double-double of the season and second in the last three games with 15 points and 10 boards. Sophomore Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio) led BC with five assists to go along with eight points and four rebounds.
Westminster had two players register double-doubles, led by Murray with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Rob Briggs came off the bench to total 12 markers and 14 caroms.
Bethany will close out the regular season with a trip to Washington & Jefferson to face their biggest rival. The stakes are very clear, as the winner of the game will be the #2 seed in the PAC Tournament. If BC should lose, they would enter as the third seed, but if the Bison knock off the Presidents, W&J would drop down to four and Westminster would go in at #3. Bethany slipped past W&J 79-68 in overtime in their first meeting Jan. 21.