Jan. 5 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany men’s basketball team saw a 12-point lead cut to five late, but freshman guard Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) hit all six of his free throws in the final 45 seconds to secure the Bison’s 71-64 victory over Denison Monday night.
In front by three midway through the first half, BC (7-5) ripped off 12 consecutive points to take their biggest lead of the night. Beckwith started the spurt with a lay-up and then capped the run with a triple and conventional three-point play to make it a 31-16 BC advantage with 5:59 to go before halftime. The lead was trimmed to single digits at the break when Denison (3-8) got a three from Chris Luther in the closing seconds to make it 39-30 at intermission.
The Big Red cut the deficit to five at 41-36 early in the second half, but that was answered by a three from senior Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) and a three-point play from junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) to balloon the margin to 49-38. Bethany’s lead stood at 61-49 with 6:12 to play when Denison made their move. Luther canned two foul shots and a lay-up to start a 9-2 spurt that brought the visitors within 63-58 at the 2:42 mark.
The teams exchanged buckets to keep it a five-point game into the final minute before the Bison sealed the victory. Beckwith made amends for missing two front ends of one-and-ones earlier in the half by draining a pair from the charity stripe with 45 seconds to go, then knocked down four more with under 30 seconds left to preserve the victory and keep BC undefeated at home this year (5-0).
Beckwith used a 9-for-11 effort at the free throw line to notch a game-high 18 points and he added seven rebounds for the Bison, who posted a 44-32 advantage on the glass. Testa (14) and Petkovski (13) each scored in double digits as well, while also pulling down eight rebounds apiece.
For Denison, Luther dropped in 14 and Pat Sullivan and Mike Garabedian each had 12 points in the loss.
The Bison return to the floor Wednesday night with a contest at Saint Vincent, who is off to a 10-2 start this season. Tip-off in Latrobe, Pa., is slated for 8 p.m.