BETHANY SHOOTERS FILL IT UP IN 85-73 WIN OVER WESTMINSTER
Jan. 23 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Behind a season-high 16 three-pointers and five scorers in double digits, the Bethany College men’s basketball claimed an 85-73 triumph over visiting Westminster Saturday afternoon at Hummel Field House.
The win, coupled with Grove City’s 96-85 victory at Thomas More, moves the Bison (12-5, 5-2) into a three-way for first place in the league with the Wolverines (11-7, 5-2) and Saints (13-5, 5-2). Westminster drops to 5-13 overall and 2-5 in the league.
Bethany was filling it up from deep from the outset, but an incredible first half from Westminster’s Ryne Murray kept the Titans close. Senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) and junior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) hit a trio of triples apiece, as BC went 9-for-16 (56 percent) from the arc in the first half. However, Murray was putting on his own three-point exhibition, as he drained 5-of-8 from deep and scored 21 to help Westminster keep within a 41-37 deficit to the Bison at halftime.
Three-point shooting continued to dominate the story line to open the second half. A Lyonett trey capped a 7-0 spurt by the Green and White to open second half, which put them on top 48-37. The Titans answered back with a pair of threes by Steve Cress sandwiched around one from Murray and the visitors had climbed back to within 51-48 with 13:40 to go.
After the clock ticked under 10 minutes to play is when Bethany started to pull away. Freshman James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) drilled two trifectas and Lyonett hit another to help BC extend their margin to 72-60. Westminster answered back with four straight foul shots, but Lyonett stepped up with another three-pointer to swell the cushion back to double digits. Lyonett would later hit his sixth trey of the day to give Bethany their largest lead of the game at 83-66 and the Bison were on their way to their third consecutive win.
The 16 three-pointers by BC was their highest total of the season and tied for the second most in school history in a game. Bethany was impressive in other areas as well, out-rebounding the Titans 36-26 and turning the ball over a season-low seven times.
Lyonett led the Bison bombers from deep, as he finished with a team-high 20 points and also pulled down a season-best seven rebounds. Senior forward Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) checked in with 17 markers and seven boards, while Opalka finished with 14 points, seven caroms and six assists. Rounding out the double digit scorers was senior Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) with 13 and Barton with 10, while freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) recorded nine points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Murray’s huge first half helped him register a game-high 33 points, while forward Rob Briggs dropped in 16.
Bethany will try to run their win streak to four Wednesday night when they host Waynesburg in a PAC contest at Hummel Field House. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.