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Bethany Suffers First PAC Loss at Saint Vincent 69-66

Jan. 5 - LATROBE, Pa. – Senior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) scored a game-high 19, but the Bethany College men’s basketball team couldn’t overcome five Saint Vincent scorers in double digits, as the Bearcats handed the Bison their first PAC loss of the season by a 69-66 count Saturday afternoon.

6618Jackson12.jpgAfter allowing the first hoop of the game, Bethany came back with 11 straight points to take its largest lead of the day at 11-2. Saint Vincent (10-4, 5-0) chipped away at the BC advantage and after getting it down to four by the midway portion of the period, the Bearcats went on a 17-3 surge to take a 32-22 lead.

The Bison responded with back-to-back buckets and then looked like they would go in at the half down by just five after a jumper from junior Kevin Jackson (right - Baltimore, Md./Walbrook) and foul shot by senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township). But Saints Vincent’s Sean Kett buried a long three at the buzzer to send the home team to intermission with a 37-29 lead.

The second half had a similar beginning as the first, as Bethany put together a quick burst. Two scores by Wilcox helped in a string of 10 consecutive points to put BC back in front. Following a Bearcat score, Pacific canned a three and Wilcox got in the paint for another lay-up to push the Green and White to a 44-39 lead with just four minutes off the second half clock.

The Bearcats answered with 10 of the next 15 points to create the first of six ties in the second half. The last of those came when Jackson swished a long jumper with 6:39 to play to draw Bethany even at 56-56. On BC’s next possession, a Bison turnover following an offensive rebound led to a long pass and dunk by SVC’s Grant Latus, which started an 11-3 run by the home team to put Saint Vincent in front 67-59 with 1:33 on the clock.

Bethany used a couple steals late that led to scores to bring the deficit down to 69-66. Saint Vincent missed the front end of a one-and-one and then a foul put the Bison at the line with 2.8 seconds to play. The Bison struggled all game from the foul line, making just 11-of-23 attempts from the charity stripe, and those issues sealed the loss. Needing to make the first shot and miss the second, the initial try was off and Saint Vincent would be able to hang on for the win that moved them above the Bison into first place in the PAC.

In addition to the free throw woes, Bethany shot only 39 percent from the floor while the Bearcats made 53 percent of their shots. The Bison used a huge effort on the offensive glass to stay in the game, as 24 offensive rebounds, which were part of a 40-32 advantage in rebounding, led to 19 second-chance points for BC.

9725Pacific12.jpgThe Bison had three finish in double figures, led by Pacific (right) with his 19 and he also added seven rebounds and three assists. Jackson came off the bench to tally a season-high 13 and junior Lawrence Weldon (Baltimore, Md./Poly) had 10, also his highest point total of the year. Wilcox finished with nine points and also made five steals.

Leading the balanced Saint Vincent attack was a pair off the bench, as Isaac Turner had 14 and Dillon Stith scored 12. The team’s leading scorer, Chris Klimchock, had just two points, but did hand out nine assists.

Bethany will have to recover from the loss quickly, as it returns to the floor Monday night with another road game. The Bison will journey to Pittsburgh for a non-conference meeting with Carnegie Mellon at 7 p.m.