Big Game Looms for Bethany Saturday Versus PAC Co-Leader Saint Vincent
Feb. 8 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team will take on each of the top two teams in the PAC in the next five days, beginning Saturday when league co-leader Saint Vincent comes for a 4 p.m. tip-off.
The Bison have been off for a week since dropping to 9-4 in the PAC with a 78-71 setback at Thiel. Bethany managed to trim a 12-point second-half deficit down to two, but BC’s comeback effort ran out of time. Senior Reece Mabery (right - Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) had a team-leading 17 points, while senior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) hit for 14 and junior Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) scored 11 for the BC, who was out-rebounded 21-8 in the second half and 32-23 for the game.
Before trying to take down a conference leader, Bethany will honor one of its most successful senior classes in school history. The foursome of Barton, Mabery, Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) and Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) have won 80 games in their time together, third-most by one class in program history, and are 45-7 in their careers in home games. Led by Wilcox’s 1,404 points, which is seventh in school history, and Barton’s 1,101, which is 18th, the class has scored a combined 4,210 points.
In the first meeting between Bethany and Saint Vincent Jan. 5th, Pacific was the lone senior to reach double figures and the Bearcats rallied from a second-half deficit to claim a 69-66 win over the Bison. Bethany held a five-point margin with 13 minutes to play, but SVC came back and used an 11-3 run late in the game to take the victory. Pacific (right) led all scorers with 19 points and junior Kevin Jackson (Baltimore, Md./Walbrook) hit for 13, but BC could not overcome 11-for-23 shooting from the foul line. Saint Vincent put five in double digits, led by Isaac Turner with 14 and Dillon Stith with 12.
The Bearcats (17-5, 12-1) have won six straight and were ranked fifth in this week’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional rankings. The last three wins for SVC have come by an average of six points, with the largest of those being a 74-66 decision at Geneva Wednesday night. Point guard Chris Klimchock erupted for a season-best 31 points, with Turner and Sean Kett scoring 14 apiece as the Bearcats shot 52.3 percent from the field in the victory. The only game this year that Saint Vincent hit for a higher percentage came in the victory over Bethany, when they converted 52.9 percent of their shots.
Led by a strong Player of the Year candidate in Klimchock, the Bearcats have a player near the top of nearly every statistical category. With 15.9 points per game, Klimchock is fourth in the PAC in scoring and his 3.6 assists are second in the league. Turner is right behind him in points with 15.1 a game, while Stith ranks second in field goal percentage at 54.9. Sitting atop the PAC rankings is Sean Kett, who has made 88.5 percent of his free throws, and Grant Latus, who is blocking 1.8 shots a game.