Bison Drop Overtime Thriller to Saint Vincent 69-66
Feb. 9 -BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team erased a seven-point deficit with two minutes left to force overtime, but PAC co-leader Saint Vincent scored 12 of its 14 points in the extra period at the foul line and held on for a 69-66 victory Saturday afternoon.
There were nine lead changes in the first half, but they all came early in the game before the Bison (15-8, 9-5) went cold. Senior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski Area) hit a jumper with six minutes left in the half for a 15-14 BC advantage. The Bearcats (18-5, 13-1) went back in front on the ensuing possession when an offensive rebound led to a three from Edmond Wright and then both teams’ offenses went quiet.
Neither team scored for more than three minutes before Saint Vincent made it a 9-0 run on a three-point play by Armani Fountain and a trey by Wright. Bethany’s lone field goal in the final six minutes came just before the halftime buzzer when senior Reece Mabery (right - Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) got to the rim for a lay-up that cut the SVC margin to 25-18 at the break.
Pacific drilled a triple to open the second half, but the Bearcats looked like they took control with a 13-4 run over the next five minutes. The run was capped by another long-range shot from Wright and a three by Chris Klimchock , which gave the visitors their largest lead of the game at 38-25 with 12 minutes to play. Bethany did mount a comeback, using a 17-7 run to get back within a point at 47-46 when junior Kevin Jackson (Baltimore, Md./Walbrook) hit a lay-up with 3:41 on the clock.
The rest of regulation saw wild momentum swings. Saint Vincent scored six straight to take its lead to 53-46 with two minutes to play. But Bethany tied the game with seven points in 35 seconds, starting with back-to-back scores by Mabery. Senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) stole an inbounds pass and fed senior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) for a bucket and a foul. The free throw was off the mark, but Wilcox grabbed the rebound and after a miss, junior Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) was fouled on the rebound. He hit a foul shot to tie the game, and then the teams exchanged scores to make it 55-55. Bethany had the final possession with a chance to win, but a three-pointer was off the mark and the game went to overtime.
After an early exchange of scores to open OT, Saint Vincent scored five straight, all on free throws. Bethany trimmed the margin down to one with a minute to play on a Wilcox lay-up, but a Saint Vincent bucket was followed by four free throws in the final 17 seconds to seal the triumph for the Bearcats. The looming stat in the game was SVC’s 19 offensive rebounds which led to 21 second-chance points.
Playing in their final regular season home game, all four Bison seniors had solid games. Mabery scored a game-high 18 points, while Pacific notched 15 and Barton had 10. With his seven points, Wilcox (right) moved into sixth place on Bethany’s all-time scoring list (1,411) and he also totaled eight rebounds, five steals and three assists.
Saint Vincent’s win was keyed by 15 points from Isaac Turner, 13 points and 10 rebounds by Dillon Stith and 11 markers from Wright.
The road doesn’t get any easier for the Bison, as they take on the other co-leader in the PAC Wednesday with a road game at Thomas More. The Saints stayed tied with Saint Vincent for the top spot in the conference by defeating Thiel 72-62. That result helped Bethany, who remained a game in front of the Tomcats for third place.