BETHANY PULLS AWAY FOR 77-63 WIN OVER SAINT VINCENT
Jan. 18 - BETHANY, W.Va. – A thunderous dunk by senior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) ignited a surge over the final six minutes by the Bethany College basketball team, as they pulled away for a 77-63 victory over visiting Saint Vincent Wednesday night.
The triumph keeps the Bison alone in second place in the PAC with a 7-1 league mark and a 15-2 overall record. The Bearcats slipped to 12-5 and 5-3 in the PAC.
Saint Vincent bolted out to a 10-5 lead to open the game, but Bethany roared back with 22 of the next 30 points and had their biggest lead of the half when junior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) hit a trey for a 27-18 lead. The visitors chipped away to get back within four but an Alexander jumper and two free throws by junior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, pa./Highlands) in the final 72 seconds sent BC into the halftime locker room with a 35-27 lead.
The two free throws capped a huge first half for Mabery, who netted 16 by the break, while Dillon Stith was also off to a good start for SVC with 10 markers.
An 8-1 spurt by the Bearcats early in the second half cut their deficit to a basket, but Bethany responded with nine of the next 11 points to extend their margin back to 48-39. Saint Vincent made another push later in the half and when Ralph Nin scored on a putback with 7:17 to go, SVC was within a point at 52-51.
The Bison lead wasn’t that small for long, as on the ensuing possession, junior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.), who hadn’t scored yet, cashed in a three-pointer. Saint Vincent got a point back on a foul shot on their next possession and on BC’s end, a missed shot led to the biggest play of the night. Alexander came flying in from the right baseline to follow up a BC miss to grab the rebound and slam it home in one motion to make it a 59-52 Green and White lead.
The Bearcats called timeout but the momentum had swung back to the Bison. Barton hit a jumper and a triple and junior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) scored a lay-up to swell the Bison cushion to 64-54. Saint Vincent cut it to a seven-point difference but Bethany iced the win at the foul line, going 9-for-10 in the final 2:08 to keep a firm grip on second place in the conference.
Mabery posted a huge game for Bethany, going 9-for-9 from the foul line for 27 points. Alexander was strong down low with 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Also reaching double digits was Barton with 12, all coming in the final seven minutes, Wilcox with 12, as well as seven rebounds, five assists and three steals, and Pacific with 11 markers.
Turning in a career-high for Saint Vincent was Stith with 24 points and eight rebounds before he fouled out. Notching a dozen points each was Tauvon Pettiford and Isaac Turner, while Armani Fountain dropped in 10.
Bethany will remain at home for its next PAC game, as the Bison host Grove City Saturday at 4 p.m. In the first meeting between the schools Nov. 30, BC rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit for a 67-63 win.