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BISON BATTLE SAINT VINCENT WEDNESDAY FOR 2ND PLACE IN PAC
Feb. 8 - BETHANY, W.Va. – With only four games left in the regular season, Wednesday’s night’s contest between the Bethany College men’s basketball team and Saint Vincent will determine a lot for the upcoming PAC Tournament. Tip-off in Latrobe, Pa., is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The Bison (15-6, 8-3) are just a half-game in front of the Bearcats (15-6, 7-3) for second place in the conference. Saint Vincent is also tied with Thomas More (11-9, 7-3), who hosts Waynesburg Wednesday. This is a very big week for Bethany, who hosts Thomas More Saturday, while Saint Vincent will play at Waynesburg. All of the teams are looking up at Thiel (15-6, 9-1), who leads the conference and hosts Grove City Wednesday night.
Bethany won for the sixth time in the last seven games last Saturday with a 59-43 triumph at Grove City. Although they shot just 38 percent from the floor, BC forced 27 Wolverine turnovers and allowed just five offensive rebounds in setting a new season-low for points allowed. Junior forward British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half and also hauled down a game-high nine rebounds. Other top scorers included sophomore Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) with 12 and senior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Bison will need a victory Wednesday to avoid being swept in the season series by Saint Vincent. The first match-up between the teams Jan. 8 saw BC hold a 10-point lead with eight minutes to go, but the Bearcats came all the way back and used a Dennis Bassich free throw with two seconds left to escape Hummel Field House with a 71-70 victory. Wilcox went off for a career-high 25 and Alexander scored 18, but SVC put three in double digits, led by Dillon Stith off the bench with 21, Bassich with 16 and senior guard BJ McGill had 14.
That victory came in the early stages of the Bearcats’ current hot stretch, as they have won eight of their last nine and four in a row. Despite playing without their leading scorer McGill, who was ill, Saturday at Geneva, Saint Vincent scored a 79-66 victory over the Golden Tornadoes. Bassich erupted for a season-high 28 points, while Tauvon Pettiford notched 20 and Stith hit for 14, as SVC outscored Geneva 46-23 in the second half after trailing by 10 at the break.
The Saint Vincent attack can feature any number of players step up with big efforts in games. McGill, who is expected to play Wednesday, is third in the PAC with 16.1 points per game and is also averaging 5.7 assists and 5.2 rebounds a contest. Bassich sits fifth in the circuit in scoring at 15.1and is fourth with 49 three-pointers. Since transferring to the school after the first semester, Tauvon Pettiford , last week’s PAC Player of the Week, has been a big addition, averaging 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds. Inside, freshman Grant Latus has made steady contributions, putting up 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and a PAC-best 1.90 blocked shots per game.