March 3 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) scored the go-ahead bucket with 36 seconds left and a Neumann (Pa.) University three-pointer at the buzzer was off target, giving the Bethany College men’s basketball team a 70-68 win over the Knights in the ECAC South Region Quarterfinals.
The victory raised the Bison’s record to 19-8 and sends second-seeded BC to the semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday against #3 Penn State Behrend (19-8), who won their first round game over Misericordia 79-73 in overtime. Catholic (D.C.) University is the top seed for the ECAC South Tournament and hosts for the semifinals Saturday and title game Sunday at 2 p.m. The Cardinals will play #5 Alvernia, who knocked off #4 Pitt-Bradford 73-63 in Wednesday’s other quarterfinal, at 4 p.m. Saturday.
After Bethany from the start of the game, there were five ties and two lead changes in the final 7:10 of the second half. BC led 68-63 following a lay-up by junior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) with 1:44 left, but a three-point play by Na’Sheed Linton and lay-in by Marquise Boggs evened the count at 68 with 1:11 to play. On their next possession, Wilcox drove to the rim and hit an off-balance lay-up to put the Green and White in front by two with 36 ticks left.
The Bison would still have to fend off two Knights’ scoring chances in the closing seconds. Linton was called for an offensive foul with eight seconds left to turn the ball back over to BC. Bethany had a chance to clinch the game at the foul line, but missed both free throws, giving Neumann one last chance. However, Linton’s three at the buzzer was off the mark, giving the Bison the two-point win and their first ECAC Tournament victory in four trips to the tournament.
The way Bethany started the night, it didn’t look like the game would come down to the wire. Three-pointers by junior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) and Wilcox capped a 22-8 surge to open the contest. The Knights answered back with eight consecutive points and pulled themselves back to within 31-28 going into halftime.
Leading the way for Bethany was Testa, who in addition to posting team-highs of 15 points and nine rebounds, also played in his 112th career game to break the Bethany record he shared with Chris Stephens (111) coming into the game. The nine boards also gives him 778 for his career, moving the 6-3 forward past Kendall Hayes (776) for fifth place on the school’s all-time rebounding list.
Joining Testa in double figures were four other Bison, including McFadden with 13, Wilcox and senior Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) with 11 each and senior Jay Lyonett with 10.
For Neumann (16-13), they were paced by Linton with 14, John Lewis with 13 and Ty Robinson with 10.