BETHANY TRAVELS TO THIEL WEDNESDAY FOR BIG PAC TILT
Feb. 2 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The final month of the regular season begins Wednesday for the Bethany College men’s basketball team when they head to Greenville, Pa., to square off with Thiel in a key PAC clash at 8 p.m.
The men’s contest features two of the hottest teams in the PAC, as the Bison (14-5, 6-2) have won five straight and 12 of their last 14, while the Tomcats (10-9, 3-4) have claimed four in a row. In the PAC race, a Bethany win can move them back into a tie for first place in the conference with Grove City (13-7, 7-2), who is off Wednesday, while Thiel can draw even with Washington & Jefferson for the fourth spot in the league with a victory.
The Bison continued their winning ways Saturday by rallying from a halftime deficit to best Geneva 75-67 on the road. BC turned 18 offensive rebounds into 31 second chance points, with senior guard Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) spearheading the effort on the offensive glass. Seven of his career-high 10 boards came off BC misses and those directly led to 14 second-chance points. Lyonett scored 16 points as well to record his first career double-double, while senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) tossed in a team-leading 19 in the triumph.
Something will have to give Wednesday when the Bison put the top road record in the PAC on the line against a Thiel squad that defends their home floor very well. Bethany is 7-2 away from Hummel Field House this season and their victory at Geneva was their fourth straight on the road. The key for BC has been on the boards, as they have a rebounding margin of +8.0 in away games. Meanwhile, the Tomcats are 5-1 this season at Beeghley Gymnasium, including four straight triumphs, with an average margin of victory of 18.2.
Bethany will hope to use their road magic to continue another streak. They have defeated the Tomcats 15 straight times dating back to 2004, including a 72-69 victory back on Jan. 4. The Bison led the game by as many as 20 in the first half and just held off a Tomcat comeback at the end. Testa notched 22 points and seven rebounds to lead Bethany, while Blair Rozenblad totaled 24 points and 10 boards for Thiel.
The Tomcats have been rolling since that first meeting with BC, going 7-2 in their last nine games. They ran their winning streak to four Saturday with a 78-68 decision at Washington & Jefferson. Devon Adams, this week’s PAC Player of the Week, paced four scorers in double digits with 22, while Cory Chafee dropped in 18 and Rozenblad registered 15 markers and 10 rebounds before fouling out. Thiel’s outside shooting sparked the win, as they went 10-for-18 from the arc, with Adams making 5-of-9 ties from deep.
Three-point shooting may be the big factor in determining Wednesday’s winner. Thiel (37.2) and Bethany (35.8) rank first and second respectively in the conference in three-point accuracy. Both teams also defend the arc well, as teams are hitting a PAC-low 29.2 percent against the Bison and the Tomcats are third in three-point percentage defense at 31.6.