BETHANY’S WILCOX GRABS ANOTHER PAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD
Feb. 13 - WEXFORD, Pa. – For the second time this season and fourth in his career, Bethany College junior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) has been selected as the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Men’s Basketball Player of the Week.
The 6-3 forward earned the honor after guiding the Bison (20-3, 12-2) to two PAC road wins last week, which elevated BC into first place in the conference standings. Last Wednesday, Wilcox needed just 22 minutes, his second-lowest total of the season, to post 13 points and four rebounds, which helped the Green and White pull away from Waynesburg for a 75-44 victory.
Then on Saturday in a huge showdown at Thiel, Bethany fell behind 46-33 at halftime and still trailed by 13 early in the second half. Then, due in part to Wilcox’s play, the Bison made a massive comeback. Following a 23-4 blitz, the 13-point deficit was turned into a 60-54 lead and the Bison would hold off the Tomcats for a 70-67 victory. Wilcox scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half and also finished with 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals, as BC snapped Thiel’s 18-game regular season home winning streak.
Although Wilcox finished the game with a team-high in points, he attributed the second-half turnaround to the Bison’s ability to contain the Thiel attack and then get out in transition.
“Everything we did Saturday started on defense,” said Wilcox. “Our defense started getting stops and we started pushing the ball up more and it led to open shots and quick points. All of us did our part and that’s how we were able to win that game.”
It’s been an outstanding year for Wilcox and Bethany to this point. Not only are the Bison in first place in the conference, but they have reached 20 wins for just the fifth time in program history and have reached that mark in the regular season for only the third time. Bethany has also been receiving votes in the D3Hoops.com Top 25 poll for the majority of the season.
Individually, Wilcox has been at the center of the BC charge. He leads the PAC and is ranked sixth in all of Division III with 3.2 steals per game. In addition, Wilcox is in the top five in the league rankings in four other categories, including first in minutes played (33.87), fourth in rebounding (7.8) and assists (2.96) and fifth in scoring (15.7). During the course of the year, he became the 23rd men’s player in Bethany history to surpass 1,000 career points and also broke the all-time school record for steals and already, at this juncture of his junior season, Wilcox is the first player in Bison history to reach 1,000 points (1,036), 500 rebounds (539), 200 assists (207) and 200 steals (204).
Despite all the accomplishments so far, there is still much work to be done. Bethany needs wins in its final two regular season games to secure the top seed and home court advantage throughout the PAC Tournament. Wednesday will be a home game against Westminster for Senior Day and Saturday is another tough PAC match-up at Saint Vincent, who the Bison beat by one point in the PAC Tournament semifinals last year on their way to the program’s 13th conference title.
Wilcox and his teammates are aware of how important these two games are to not only send the seniors out with a victory, but also earn that top seed and make sure the path to the PAC Championship will have to come through Bethany. But to ensure that, the Bison captain says the team’s play will have to resemble that of their big run Saturday against Thiel.
“These two games this week are really important because we want to play at home throughout the PAC Tournament,” said Wilcox. “Westminster is Senior Night and that’s big for our seniors British (Alexander) and Ryan (Summers), so we definitely want to get a win for them. The biggest game is Saturday at Saint Vincent because we have a bit of a rivalry after what happened last year.
“What I told the guys after Saturday was the little streak we had against Thiel is how we need to play every minute,” said Wilcox. “We have to get stops on defense, run the ball and create open shots and that will help us get these two wins.”