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Bison Fend Off Upset-Minded Westminster for 79-69 Win

Jan. 30 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Despite shooting 52 percent from the floor and making 11 three-pointers, the Bethany College men’s basketball team could not put away Westminster until the final minute when the Bison finally secured a 79-69 victory Wednesday night.

9725Pacific12.jpg Bethany, who improved to 9-3 in the PAC with the win, threatened to pull away several times from the Titans (6-14, 2-10) in the first half. Seniors Brady Pacific (right - Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) and Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) swished treys in a 10-3 spurt that gave BC its largest lead of the half at 26-16. After the teams swapped threes, Westminster scored eight straight to cut the deficit to two.

The Bison pushed the lead back out to nine points late in the half, the Titans made a final push before the intermission, as Anthony Thomas sank his third triple of the period and Doug Smith hit a short jumper just before the buzzer to trim Bethany’s lead to 41-37 at halftime. The Bison shot 53 percent in the opening half, but 16 points from Thomas kept the visitors close.

The second half opened with a flurry from the Green and White, as senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) had a lay-up and three sandwiched around a bucket by junior Kevin Jackson (Baltimore, Md./Walbrook) to give the Bison their largest lead of the game at 48-37. Once again, it would be answered by the Titans, as Smith hit back-to-back treys as part of an 8-0 run and a few minutes later, Thomas hit from deep again to even the score at 52 with 12:54 to play.

This time it was Bethany who had a quick run, as junior Tyrone Smothers (Baltimore, Md./Merganthaler) put BC back in front with a three-pointer and a conventional three-point play by senior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) highlighted a 10-2 spurt to make it a 62-54 Bison advantage with nine minutes to go. Westminster never let the spread get higher than eight until the final minute, when three free throws in the final 36 seconds helped push the final margin to 10 points.

5004Wilcox12.jpg Four Bison finished the night in double figures, led by Pacific and Barton with 17 apiece. Wilcox (right) recorded his fifth double-double of the year with 11 points and 10 rebounds while adding four assists and four blocks to his line. Jackson rounded out the top scorers with 10 markers off the bench.

For Westminster, Thomas knocked down six three-pointers on his way to 24 points, while Smith had 18 and Adam Carswell scored 14.

Next up for Bethany is a big road game at Thiel, who dropped two games behind the Bison for third place in the league with a loss to co-league leader Saint Vincent Wednesday. Tip-off in Greenville, Pa., is scheduled for 3 p.m.