Dec. 12 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Spurred on by four scorers in double digits and a season-high 10 three-pointers, the Bethany men’s basketball team (5-3) pulled away for a 76-64 victory over Geneva (5-4) Saturday at Hummel Field House.
The contest featured numerous momentum swings in both halves. In the opening stanza, senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) and freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) combined for 10 in a 12-3 surge that gave the hosts a 21-10 lead at the 13-minute mark. Geneva answered back by reeling off 14 of the next 16 markers to grab a 24-23 margin with 5:56 to play.
Bethany bounced back with a 12-1 run to seize a 10-point lead, but the Golden Tornadoes tallied the final five points of the period to make it a 35-30 BC advantage heading into halftime. The Bison’s work on the offensive glass keyed their success, as the Green and White grabbed 16 misses, which were turned into 11 second-chance points.
Big runs continued to be the story in the second half, as junior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) had a lay-up and triple in the first minute of the final period to push Bethany’s lead back to double digits. It was still a 10-point bulge at the 16-minute mark when the GTs started chipping away. T.J. Bevilacqua scored six during a 16-6 run that was capped when Bryan Hill drilled a trey to even the score at 50-50 midway through the half.
The Bison would respond with the last big flurry of points to finally seize control of the contest. Junior Nick Thomas (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) buried a three-pointer to ignite a 14-2 blitz which put the home team in front 64-52 with 6:22 remaining. Thomas hit another trifecta during the run, as did senior Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) and Opalka, and Geneva did not get closer than eight the rest of the way.
In addition to Bethany’s bench posting a 23-9 scoring advantage over Geneva’s subs, BC forced 21 turnovers and held a 34-31 rebounding advantage.
The Bison scoring attack was extremely balanced, with five players scoring at least nine points. Leading the way was a trio of 14-point efforts, which came from Wilcox, who also had six rebounds and four blocked shots, Opalka, who added in six steals and four assists, and Testa, who hauled down a team-best seven boards. Pacing the potent Bethany bench was Ankrom with 10 markers and Thomas, who went 3-for-3 from deep for nine points.
Geneva’s efforts were led by Richard Colick with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Bethany will return to the court Tuesday night for their final game before the Christmas break. They will travel to Denison for a non-conference match-up, slated to tip-off at 8 p.m.