BETHANY STARTS 2ND HALF PAC SLATE AGAINST GROVE CITY
Jan. 20 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After going through the first half of the PAC schedule with a 7-1 record and in firm grasp of second place in the conference, the Bethany College men’s basketball team will begin the second part of the league slate Saturday by hosting Grove City at 4 p.m.
The Bison improved to 15-2 overall Wednesday night by pulling away late for a 77-63 triumph over Saint Vincent. It was a one-point BC lead with seven minutes to play when junior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) buried a three and senior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) had a follow-up dunk, which ignited a 25-12 game-ending run to give Bethany the win.
Junior guard Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) was 9-for-9 from the foul line and finished with a game-high 27 points, while Alexander went for 15 markers and hauled down eight rebounds. Barton chipped in 12 points, all coming in the final seven minutes, and junior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) went for 12 as well to go along with seven rebounds and five assists.
Also joining the double-digit scoring barrage was junior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) with 11. It was the 10th time this season that at least four players went for 10 or more in a game and the fourth game in which five different players posted double figures. That balanced attack is one of the main reasons the Green and White is the top scoring team in the PAC with 75.6 points per game. If that pace is kept up, this would be the highest scoring average by a Bison team since the 2007-08 squad scored 82.0 points per game.
The last two BC victories have been highlighted by big offensive outbursts from Alexander. He is averaging 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in victories over Westminster and Saint Vincent and his 31 points is the most he’s scored in back-to-back games this year. The 6-6 forward also continues to be a difference maker in the paint. He has 40 blocked shots already this year to lead the PAC and is closing in on the all-time rejections record at the school. Alexander has swatted 107 shots in his Bison career to rank second behind only Matt Drahos, who posted 132 during his four-year career.
Saturday will be the first time Alexander has faced Grove City this season, as the Bison big man sat out the first meeting between the schools due to injury. Although Bethany was missing Alexander and Mabery from the line-up, the Green and White used a big game from Wilcox to rally from a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat the Wolverines 67-63 back on Nov. 30. Wilcox turned in 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Pacific scored 15 and freshman Dylan Gravatt (Franklin, Pa./Rocky Grove) stepped up with 10 points off the bench.
Grove City (7-9, 3-5) finished the first half of the PAC schedule tied with Geneva for fifth place in the standings. The Wolverines have dropped three of their last four games, including a hard-fought 56-49 setback to first place Thiel Saturday. It was a two-point game with a minute to play but Grove City just couldn’t make a final run to take the lead. Senior guard Brett Matson had a game-high 19 in the defeat and added eight rebounds and five steals.
The theme for the Wolverines’ season so far has been down-to-the-wire finishes, as 10 of their 16 games have been decided by seven points or less and that doesn’t include an 84-75 overtime win over Kenyon early in the year. Grove City is paced by a trio of top scorers in senior forward Kris Verderber with 11.5 points, as well as Matson, who is also leading the team in rebounding with 5.9 from the guard spot to go along with 10.9 points per game. The third big scorer is freshman guard Mitch Marmelstein, who is averaging 10.2 per game and scored a GCC season-high 24 in the first meeting with Bethany.
Fans that can not make the trip to Bethany for the games can follow the action live from their home computer. Both the women’s and men’s games on Saturday will be video streamed live by the Bethany Broadcast Network. Fans can access the broadcasts by going to http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/bethanywv.portal# .