Jan. 20 - WASHINGTON, Pa. – Senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) scored a team-high 20 and the Bethany College men’s basketball team drilled 11 three-pointers, as they moved into a tie for second place in the PAC by defeating Washington & Jefferson 82-66 Wednesday night on the road.
The victory upped the Bison’s record to 11-5 overall and 4-2 in the PAC, which drew them even with the Presidents (8-9, 4-2) and Grove City (10-7, 4-2) for second place in the league behind Thomas More (13-4, 5-1).
Bethany scored the first seven points of the contest and controlled the first half from start to finish. Senior Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) was the spark, as he came off the bench to score 15 consecutive points during a five-minute stretch of the opening half to swell the BC lead from eight points to 28-12. The Bison led by as many as 21 in the opening stanza before W&J scored the final five points of the half to make it a 37-21 Green and White advantage at the break.
The margin stood at 14 early in the second half when threes by junior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) and senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) were sandwiched around a jumper from junior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) to balloon the lead to 52-30. The Bison looked to have clear sailing when the lead stood at 21 with eight minutes to play, but the home team chipped away with 19 of the next 27 markers to clip the Bison lead down to 70-60 with 2:47 on the clock.
The lead would never shrink into single digits however, as Lyonett fired in his fifth triple of the game on the next possession. Bethany made enough free throws down the stretch to come away with the triumph, their fifth straight at W&J dating back to the 2004-05 season.
Testa posted another strong night, as he canned 8-of-9 from the foul line in posting 20 points, the sixth time in the last seven games he has scored at least 20. He also hauled down a game-high nine rebounds to help BC post a 37-26 advantage on the glass. That included 17 offensive caroms, which allowed Bethany to record a 20-2 advantage in second-chance points over the Presidents.
The Bison outside shooters were paced by Ankrom, who finished with 18 after his huge first half, and Lyonett, who totaled 16. Opalka also reached double digits with 10.
For W&J, who hit 22-of-24 from the free throw line, Brian Felker and Paul Matthews each netted 20.
Bethany will open up the second half of the PAC schedule Saturday when they host Westminster (5-12, 2-4) in a 4 p.m. tip-off at Hummel Field House.