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BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany men’s basketball team tasted defeat for the first time this season in nine home games with an 84-67 loss to Thomas More Saturday, which dropped the Bison out a tie for first place in the PAC.

BC falls to 10-8 overall and 4-3 in the PAC, a full game behind the Saints, who improved to 11-7 and 5-2. The other teams who were tied for first in the league, Grove City and Westminster, remain a half-game back of TMC because they were playing provisional conference members Geneva and Saint Vincent, respectively, on Saturday.

Thomas More was strong out of the gates against Bethany, as Matty Owens hit a jumper and trey to open the game and help the visitors build an 11-4 lead. The Bison responded with a lay-up and triple from freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy), which ignited a 10-2 spurt and when sophomore Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) hit a foul shot with 9:10 left, BC had a 14-13 lead.

However, that was the only lead of the game for the Green and White. The Saints answered back with 11 of the next 13 points to take a 24-16 lead. Bethany managed to cut the deficit to three with just under two minutes to go before intermission, but Thomas More’s lead grew to 37-28 going into the locker room after Romell Salone canned a trifecta just before the halftime buzzer.

In the second half, Bethany was unable to mount a serious run to cut too deep into the Saints’ lead. A pair of foul shots by junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) brought BC within six at 49-43, but Thomas More scored seven in a row to run the advantage to 13. A couple minutes later with the Bison down by 11, TMC tore off an 18-5 run, highlighted by 10 markers from Daniel Ellis, to go in front 74-50. Bethany wasn’t able to get closer than 15 the remainder of the contest and Thomas More moved into the top spot in the conference all alone.

The Bison had a pair reach double figures, led by Beckwith with 16 points. Senior Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) recorded his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
For the Saints, Romell Salone scored a team-high 16, while Ellis and Mark Tinklenberg finished 12 points apiece.

After suffering their first home setback of the year, Bethany will now try to reverse their fortunes on the road in their next outing. BC, who is 0-7 away from Hummel Field House, will venture to Waynesburg for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off Wednesday night. The Bison will be aiming for their 14th consecutive triumph over the Yellow Jackets.