A pair of threes from junior Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) and one from senior Brody Jackson (Akron, Ohio/Manchester) sparked BC to an early 11-6 lead. The Storm responded with consecutive treys from Ahmad Turner that began a 14-0 spurt and the visitors would move out to as large as a 30-18 lead in the opening period. Bethany trimmed it to two late in the half, but Lake Erie scored the final two baskets to carry a 40-34 advantage into halftime.
Morando tallied 11 by the break to lead the Bison, who shot just 39 percent (12-31) in the first half, but out-rebounded the Storm 22-19. Lake Erie’s Darnell Campbell dropped in 10 in the opening 20 minutes on 5-of-6 shooting, which helped the Storm shoot 50 percent (17-34).
Lake Erie registered nine of the second half’s first 10 points and Campbell’s three-point play with 11:31 left capped a 19-7 run that gave the Storm their largest lead of the night at 59-42. Bethany rattled off eight straight points to start their comeback, including back-to-back trifectas from Jackson and Morando, but still trailed by 10 at 64-54 with 6:46 to go.
Jackson would ignite another rally with a triple, then after a three-pointer from sophomore Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan), he converted a traditional three-point play to slice the deficit to 66-63. The 16-6 blitz, which was also highlighted by a three-point play from freshman Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio), was capped with a lay-up from sophomore forward Ryan Besancon (Wooster, Ohio/Waynedale) that tied the score at 70-70 with 1:48 remaining.
However, it would be Lake Erie coming away with the win by scoring three points in the final 70 seconds. The deadlock was broken on a free throw by Mark Skopal with 1:10 to go. After the Bison missed their shot, the Storm ran down the shot clock and Campbell knocked down a jumper with 15 ticks showing. After missing their final two chances to tie the game, the Bison came away with their third consecutive loss and sixth of the season, which have come by an average of 4.3 points.
Bethany had four hit for double digits, led by Jackson and Morando with 14 each. Besancon tossed in 11 markers, while Adams notched 10. Besancon and sophomore Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) each had nine rebounds, while Adams gave out seven assists and Jackson passed off six.
Campbell led all scorers with 15 points and added seven boards for the Storm. Also hitting for double figures was Ethan Bradshaw with 14 and John Dickinson with 10.
The Bison return to PAC play Saturday when they travel to Thiel (Pa.) College for a 3 p.m. tip-off with the Tomcats.