BIG SECOND HALF PUSHES BISON OVER WESTMINSTER TO PAC SEMIFINALS
Feb. 23 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Junior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) scored 18 of his career-high 22 points in the second half to help the Bethany College men’s basketball team rally from a seven-point halftime deficit and defeat sixth-seeded Westminster 82-73 at Hummel Field House in the PAC Quarterfinals.
The win raises third-seeded BC’s record to 18-7 on the year and advances them to Thursday’s semifinals at #2 Thomas More (20-6), who defeated #7 Waynesburg 84-71 Tuesday night. The other semifinal will pit #1 Grove City (17-8), who had a bye, against #5 Washington & Jefferson, who slipped past #4 Thiel in overtime 80-77.
McFadden scored the opening hoop of the game, but the Titans’ Steve Cress answered on the other end and then buried a three to give Westminster (7-19) a lead they carried the rest of the period. With the visitors leading by three midway through the half, Cress scored consecutive baskets to ignite a 14-4 spurt that gave the Titans their largest lead of the half at 36-23. Bethany was able to trim the deficit down to single digits thanks a pair of late threes from freshman James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) to make it a 40-33 Titan lead at the break.
The Bison still found themselves down eight (55-47) with 11 minutes to play before they made their move. A 10-0 spurt was highlighted by a McFadden lay-up and trey and a triple by freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) gave BC a 57-55 advantage. The teams exchanged scores over the next couple minutes, until McFadden drilled another three to put the Bison in front 62-59 with 8:03 left.
Westminster would not go away easily, as they stayed within striking distance and reclaimed the lead briefly at 71-70 on a trifecta by Ryne Murray with four minutes remaining. However, Bethany took control with seven consecutive points on lay-ups by Wilcox and McFadden and a trey by senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) for a 77-71 cushion. The Green and White put the game away by making 5-of-6 from the foul line in the final 51 seconds, as they improved to 13-1 at home in the PAC Tournament.
McFadden’s career-high in points came on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor, including 2-for-3 from the arc. Also reaching double digits was senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) with 17 points and nine rebounds, Wilcox, who tallied 17 markers, five boards and four assists, and Lyonett, who dropped in 11.
Murray led the way for the Titans with 17 points and 11 boards, while Cress and Rob Briggs totaled 14 apiece.