Feb. 13 - CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – Paced by four scorers in double digits and 58 percent shooting for the game, the Bethany College men’s basketball team (15-7, 7-4) pulled away in the second half to record a 91-75 victory at Thomas More (17-6, 8-3) Saturday afternoon.
The Saints, who entered the day in first place in the PAC, came out flying, as they scored the first seven points of the game and were still in front 18-11 nine minutes into the period. The Bison answered back with a 15-2 spurt, highlighted by eight markers from sophomore Reggie Baptiste (Brooklyn, N.Y./South Shore), to take a six-point margin.
Thomas More rallied back and there would be three ties and four lead changes in the final six minutes of the half. The Bison would take the lead into the locker room when freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) canned a three with 1:05 left for a 41-38 BC advantage at halftime.
Bethany scored the first bucket of the second half, but TMC came back with seven straight points. Daniel McKeehan, who scored 20 in the first half for Thomas More, hit two free throws and a three-point play by Brian Muse gave the home team their final lead at 45-43 at the 17:35 mark. But the rest of the half belonged to the Bison. Wilcox and senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) both scored nine during a 28-5 BC blitz over the next eight minutes, capped by a Testa putback to give Bethany a 71-50 cushion with 9:14 left.
The first time the teams played on Jan. 13, Bethany also led by 21 in the second half, only to see the Saints rally to win at the buzzer. There would be no big comeback this time, as the Saints made just 1-for-14 from the arc after halftime and finished the day 4-for-30 (13 percent) from three-point land. The Bison lead grew as large as 23 at one point and they would make 19-of-32 from the field (59 percent) and 11-of-14 from the foul line (79 percent) in the second half to pull away for the triumph.
Testa led the Bethany attack with 19 points and 13 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. The 6-3 forward added five assists and three steals as well. Wilcox also posted an impressive line with 17 points, seven rebounds, six steals and five assists. Rounding out the double digit scorers was senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) with 15 and freshman James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) with 13.
The Saints were paced by McKeehan, who totaled 32 markers and eight rebounds, while Romell Salone with 11.
Bethany will be back in action Monday when they host Saint Vincent in a non-conference tilt at 8 p.m.