BETHANY TRAVELS TO FIRST PLACE THOMAS MORE SATURDAY
Feb. 12 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team will try to knock off first place Thomas More when they travel to Crestview Hills, Ky., Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip-off.
The Bison (14-7, 6-4) will be trying to snap a two-game losing streak Saturday, although the two losses came by a total of five points. Due to the weather, Bethany has not played since Monday when a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left gave Grove City a 71-68 victory over BC. The Green and White led by 14 in the second half, but the Wolverines clawed back into the game by shooting 71 percent (17-24) in the second half. Junior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) matched his career-high with 15 points and senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) posted his seventh double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bison are looking for a win to keep their positioning in the top half of the PAC. Currently, BC is tied with Thiel for third place in the league at 6-4, with Washington & Jefferson just a game behind at 5-5. Bethany will need to win Saturday or next Saturday at home against W&J to ensure either the third or fourth seed for the PAC Tournament, which would give the Bison a home game in the quarterfinal round.
Turnovers played a big role in the first meeting between the teams and will likely be a factor in Saturday’s outcome. Bethany committed 28 miscues in the initial match-up Jan. 13, but has become one of the top teams in the PAC in taking care of the basketball. In the last six games, the Bison have not committed more than 12 turnovers and are averaging just 9.8 over that span. This recent stretch has helped the Green and White move into a tie for second in the conference with just 14.9 turnovers per game for the year.
Thomas More used those Bison miscues in the first meeting to make a huge comeback. BC led by as many as 21 early in the second half, but they committed 15 of their 28 turnovers in the second half. The Saints never led in the game until the very end, when Daniel McKeehan scored on a putback at the buzzer to give TMC a 90-88 triumph over the Bison. McKeehan scored a team-high 17 for Thomas More, while the Bison, who shot 62 percent from the floor in the game, were led by Testa with 26 points and nine rebounds.
The Saints (17-5, 8-2), who are ranked fourth in the Great Lakes in the latest NCAA Regional Rankings, moved a half-game in front of Grove City for the top spot in the league with a 102-79 rout over Waynesburg Thursday night. Five players scored in double digits for TMC, led by Johnny Bovard, who made 6-of-7 from the arc and finished with a career-high 20 to help Thomas More win their fourth consecutive game.
Intense pressure on defense and three-point shooting fuel the Saints, who lead the conference in scoring with 86.9 points per game. They are also ranked first in the circuit in three-pointers per game (7.95) and turnovers forced (23.0). McKeehan (14.7), who is shooting 61 percent from the floor, and Aaron Miller (13.2) pace the TMC frontcourt, while Daniel Neeley is the top scoring guard at 10.1 points per game.