BISON IMPROVE TO 3-0 WITH NARROW WIN OVER MUSKINGUM
Nov. 22 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team had a 17-point second half lead trimmed to three, but the Bison staved off a late Muskingum charge to claim a 71-67 victory Tuesday night to improve to 3-0 for the first time in more than 40 years.
The first half saw a BC team on fire from the floor, as the Green and White built a 48-31 lead going into halftime. The Bison led 25-17 when consecutive treys from juniors Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski Area), James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) and Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa.) took it to a 34-17 advantage. Mabery canned another triple just before the halftime buzzer sounded and Bethany was on top by 17 going into the break.
Paced by Barton, who dropped in 16 in the first half, and Mabery, who was 4-for-4 from the arc for 14 first-half markers, Bethany shot a remarkable 82 percent (9-11) from three-point land and 64 percent (18-28) from the floor in the opening stanza. The Muskies stayed in the game by hitting 50 percent (5-10) from the arc and out-rebounding BC 15-8.
A lay-up by junior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) kept the Bison’s lead at 56-39 with five minutes off the second half clock, but then BC went cold and the Muskies (1-3) started chipping away. The visitors used a 12-2 spurt to get within 62-58, but Bethany appeared to take the momentum back with a Wilcox foul shot and lay-ins from Pacific and Mabery to expand their margin back to 67-58 with five minutes to play.
Muskingum had one more run left, as four points from Josh Brindley were wrapped around a trifecta by JJ Armstrong to bring the Muskies within a possession at 68-65 with 1:33 on the clock. Bethany missed a pair of three-pointers on its ensuing two possessions but the Muskies failed to capitalize by turning the ball over. The Green and White win was finally clinched with a pair of Wilcox free throws and one from Pacific in the closing seconds and BC had its first 3-0 start since the 1967-68 campaign.
Bethany put three scorers in double figures for the night, led by Barton with a season-best 19, Mabery with 18 and Pacific came off the bench to notch a dozen markers. Wilcox did not have a strong shooting night, but still posted a line of eight points, nine rebounds and four steals, while senior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) battled through foul trouble to total nine points and four rebounds.
The Muskies had a pair of players record double-doubles, including Brindley with 22 points and 11 rebounds and Kyle Clinedinst with 17 points and 10 boards.
The Bison will look to extend their season-opening unbeaten streak to four games Saturday afternoon by hosting Pitt-Greensburg in a 3 p.m. tip-off.