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Feb. 24 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After dispatching a game Westminster team in the quarterfinals, the Bethany College men’s basketball team will continue their quest for a conference record 13th PAC championship when they travel to Thomas More Thursday night for the PAC Tournament semifinals. Tip-off in Crestview Hills, Ky., is slated for 7 p.m.

The other semifinal will pit #1 Grove City (17-8) against #5 Washington & Jefferson (12-14), which will also tip-off at 7 p.m. Thursday. The two semifinal winners will meet Saturday at the highest remaining seed.

The third-seeded Bison (18-7) were pushed to the edge Tuesday night in the quarterfinals against #6 Westminster. Trailing by seven at halftime, BC used 12 second-half Titan turnovers and 18 second-half points from junior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) to rally for an 82-73 triumph. McFadden ended the game with a career-high 22 points, while senior forward Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) and freshman forward Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) both tossed in 17.

Testa did not have his best shooting game against Westminster, but found other ways to be productive for the Bison. The PAC leader in rebounding (9.6) grabbed nine more boards Tuesday, including seven offensive, and wound up making 11-of-14 from the foul line in the game. Meanwhile, Wilcox has been on a bit of a roll during Bethany’s current four-game winning streak. In addition to scoring 14.3 points over that span, he is posting 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.3 assists.

Thursday’s game will be the rubber match between the Bison and Saints this year, with each team winning on each other’s home floor. Thomas More rallied from a 21-point second-half deficit on Jan. 13 to grab a 90-88 win on a putback at the buzzer by Daniel McKeehan. In the second meeting in Kentucky on Feb. 13, Bethany shot 58 percent for the game and TMC made just 4-of-30 from the arc, as the Bison pulled away in the second half for a 91-75 win Testa has found success in BC’s first two meetings with Thomas More this season, as he is averaging 22.5 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 69 percent (20-29) from the floor.

These two programs will be facing for the third consecutive season in the PAC Tournament and the winner of the last two meetings has gone on to capture the league crown. In 2008, the top-seeded Bethany outlasted the Saints 105-98 in the semifinals, and then bested W&J in the championship game. Last season, the teams squared off on TMC’s campus for the conference title and Thomas More used a huge second half run to pull away for a 91-65 triumph and their first PAC championship.

The second-seeded Saints (20-6) road to the semifinals was not easy, as they couldn’t put away a pesky Waynesburg squad until the final minute Tuesday for an 84-71 victory. The Yellow Jackets shot 60 percent (29-48) for the game, but committed 26 turnovers that led to 36 Saints points. Pacing Thomas More, who also went 10-for-22 from the arc, was Aaron Miller with 19 points and Colt Stafford with his first career double-double (16 pts., 10 rebs.).

Thomas More is a deep team, featuring 10 players who average 12 minutes or more per game. McKeehan, who was just named the ESPN the Magazine

College Division Academic All-America Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, is the team’s leading scorer with 15.1 points per game and he poured in 32 in the last match-up with Bethany. Turnovers will again tell the story, as the Saints lead the conference by forcing 22.8 miscues per game. Meanwhile, the Bison are averaging just 11.2 turnovers over the last 10 games and have committed more than 14 just once over that span, which came in the contest at Thomas More (25) nearly two weeks ago.