Feb. 2 - BETHANY, W.Va. – A 10-0 run by visiting Thiel midway through the second half turned a two-point game into a double-digit deficit for the Bethany College men’s basketball team, who could not dig out of the hole and suffered a 66-59 defeat to the Tomcats Wednesday night at Hummel Field House.
The loss ruined the Bison’s chance to move into a tie for first place in the PAC, as they fell to 14-6 and 7-3 in the league. Thiel, who increased their advantage in the conference to one and a half games over Thomas More, are now 14-6 and 9-1 in the PAC.
A three by Thiel’s Devon Adams gave the visitors a 16-7 lead to open the game, but the Bison stormed back with an 11-2 spurt to tie the game at 18. Bethany would take the lead late in the half on a pair of foul shots by British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison), but a score by Austin Forbes gave Thiel a 29-28 lead at halftime.
The second half opened with more back-and-forth action, as the game had one tie and four lead changes in the first seven minutes of the period. A jumper by sophomore Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) put BC in front 37-36, but that was answered three possession later by a trey from Adams. The Tomcats spread stood at a basket with 11 minutes left in the game, but two straight hoops scored by Aundra Jones sparked a run of 10 consecutive points by Thiel that took their lead to 55-43.
Three-pointers from sophomore Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) and sophomore Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski Area) brought the Bison within eight at 61-53, but that was as close as they could get. The Tomcats made 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final minute to clinch the win.
The Bison offense had difficulty finding a rhythm, as they shot only 36 percent and especially struggled from the arc, making only 6-of-23 attempts (26 percent). Mabery was the lone Bison to total double digits with 12 points, while seniors Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lancaster) and Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) both added nine.
For Thiel, Blair Rozenblad finished with 15 points and Jones supplied 11 markers and eight rebounds.
Bethany will try to get back on track Saturday when they travel to Grove City for a 3 p.m. tip-off.