Dec. 2 - NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Twp.) led five scorers in double digits with 16 points, as the Bethany men’s basketball team streaked out to a 32-point lead in the second half and went on to an 85-67 victory in their PAC opener at Westminster Wednesday night.
The Bison (3-3, 1-0) held a five-point advantage with seven minutes left in the first half, but seized control with a 20-5 blitz to close the stanza and take a 43-23 margin into halftime. Freshman Damien Green (Newport News, Va./Denbigh) started the run with two jumpers and a three, which was followed by consecutive triples from junior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) and junior Nick Thomas (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) capped the surge with a lay-in and a trey.
The second half opened with senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) hitting four straight free throws, which ignited a 14-2 run that ballooned the BC cushion to 57-25 with 17 minutes left. Westminster managed to cut the deficit down to 22 and then used a 12-1 spurt to get within 69-58 at the six-minute mark. But Testa and fellow senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) combined to score the Bison’s next eight points and Bethany coasted to their first win at Westminster in four years.
Pacing the balanced Bethany attack was Wilcox, who made 8-of-10 attempts from the field on his way to a career-high 16, while also pulling down a team-leading seven rebounds. Green came off the bench to drop in a personal-best 12 and added five assists and four rebounds, while Opalka matched him with a dozen points. Others reaching double digits included Testa with 11 and Thomas with 10 markers, all coming in the first half.
The Titans’ Max Spinner led the hosts by tallying 16 points and Reuben King chipped in with 15.
The Bison will try to run their conference record to 2-0 Saturday when they travel to Waynesburg for a contest against the Yellow Jackets. Bethany has won 14 consecutive contests against Waynesburg, including seven straight on the Yellow Jackets’ home floor. Tip-off is slated for 3:30 p.m.