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BETHANY VISITS GROVE CITY WEDNESDAY IN KEY PAC TILT
Feb. 10 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany men’s basketball team can clinch a PAC Tournament Quarterfinal home game with a victory at Grove City Wednesday. Tip-off at GCC is slated for 8 p.m.
Bethany (12-10, 6-3), who has alternated wins and losses over the last eight games, continued that streak Saturday with a 74-59 setback to Saint Vincent. BC trailed by just two with seven minutes to play, but a 14-0 spurt by the Bearcats was the difference. Junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) led the effort with 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the year, while freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) tallied 17 for the Bison, who had a 38-32 rebounding advantage but turned the ball over 22 times.
The final stretch of the campaign has seen Bethany’s fortunes turn in home and road games. After winning their first eight games at Hummel Field House, BC had dropped three straight. But more importantly for this week, the Bison have snapped a string of seven straight defeats on the road to start the year with two consecutive victories, which have come through different means. In a 77-67 triumph at Waynesburg Jan. 28, Bethany hit nine three-pointers, their highest total in the last 16 games, and forced 18 Yellow Jacket turnovers.
Then in a 77-63 victory at Thiel last Wednesday, the Bison controlled the boards with a 42-25 advantage and also shot 46 percent in the win. Testa was a big factor in that outcome, as he scored 16 of his game-high 17 in the second half. In the last two games, the 6-3 forward is averaging 17.5 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 65 percent (15-23) from the floor.
Another big outing from Testa this season came in the first match-up with Grove City Jan. 10. He totaled 15 points and eight rebounds in a 76-72 triumph, which was Bethany’s 12th in the last 13 contests with the Wolverines. Testa was matched for the team-high in scoring by Beckwith, who scored nine of his 15 in the final two minutes to help stave off a Grove City comeback. The Bison used a 23-1 first-half blitz to build a 14-point halftime lead, but the Wolverines had trimmed that to 68-62 with 1:45 to play. Beckwith would hit a three as the shot clock trickled down and added four foul shots in the final minute to secure the win.
Grove City (10-9, 4-5) is trying to reverse their fortunes after a rough stretch in which they dropped three in a row by an average of 23 points. The most recent loss was a 73-59 defeat to first place Thomas More on Saturday. Although the Wolverines shot a higher percentage from the floor and held their own on the boards (37-40), the Saints cashed in 12 three-pointers in the victory. Ryan Gibson was the lone GCC player in double figures with 20.
Gibson, who had a game-high 22 in the first meeting with Bethany, leads Grove City in scoring for the year with 12.4 points per game, followed closely by Andy O’Keefe’s 12.3. Joe McCoy is the final Wolverine averaging double figures with 10.7. Although the Wolverines are ranked eighth in the PAC in scoring (67.2), they are still one of the top defensive teams in the league, evidenced by their third-fewest points allowed per game (68.8) and their conference-low field goal percentage defense (40.1).