Feb. 2 - GREENSVILLE, Pa. – Senior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) scored 17 points, but Thiel shot 57 percent from the floor and held a 32-23 rebounding advantage in handing the Bethany College men’s basketball team a 78-71 loss Saturday.
The Bison, who dropped to 9-4 in the PAC, grabbed their only lead of the game when junior Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) drilled a three for a 14-13 BC advantage with 12:41 to go in the first half. The rest of the period saw spurts from each side. The Tomcats (11-8, 8-5) ripped off a 15-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at 28-16. Bison junior Kevin Jackson (right - Baltimore, Md./Walbrook) then scored six to highlight a 12-2 surge by Bethany to trim the deficit down to 30-28.
Thiel answered back with five straight points before two free throws from senior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) brought the Green and White within five at 37-32 at halftime. Addy had nine points by the break for BC, but Bethany committed 11 turnovers in the opening half.
Bethany was forced to play from behind the entire second half, as the Green and White couldn’t muster a big enough run to threaten the Tomcat lead until late. Thiel’s advantage went to 12 at 63-51 with eight minutes left when Chace McKinney sank two free throws and the margin was still 11 with 4:47 left when the Bison made their charge. Mabery had a three-pointer and two foul shots to spark an 11-2 run that quickly had Bethany within a bucket at 69-67 with 2:19 to play.
The teams exchanged hoops to keep it a two-point game, but Thiel’s Anthony Harvey had a three-point play to take the hosts’ lead to five points. Mabery connected on two foul shots on Bethany’s ensuing possession and the Bison forced a miss on Thiel’s next trip down the floor. But the Tomcats, who outrebounded Bethany 21-8 in the second half, chased down the offensive board, which led to a foul. Thiel converted four free throws in the final 19 seconds to clinch the victory that brought them within a game of the Bison in the league standings.
Bethany’s comeback efforts in the second half were led by its two senior guards. Mabery (right) scored 15 of his 17 after the break and James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) notched 11 of his 14 following halftime. Addy rounded out the top scorers with 11 points and he also made a team-leading four steals.
Thiel ended the game with four players in double digits, led by McKinney with a game-high 23. Guard Anthony Harvey finished with 14 points, as did Eric Mallinger, who came off the bench to go 7-for-8 from the floor.
The Bison are off for a week before playing their final home game of the regular season. Bethany will host co-PAC leader Saint Vincent next Saturday in a 4 p.m. tip-off.