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Bison Men Look to Stay Unbeaten in PAC Wednesday vs. Geneva
Dec. 3 -BETHANY, W.Va. – Fresh off an overtime victory on the road Saturday, the Bethany College men’s basketball team will try to improve to 3-0 in the PAC Wednesday night when it hosts Geneva. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The Bison looked like they would handily win their second straight game to open PAC play Saturday when they had a 65-50 lead at Grove City with 11 minutes to play. But the Wolverines rallied all the way back and took a 75-73 lead on two free throws with 17 seconds to go. Bethany managed to force overtime when senior Reece Mabery (right - Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) grabbed an offensive rebound and scored just before the buzzer sounded and then Mabery scored six in the extra period to help send BC to an 87-83 victory.
With his late game heroics, Mabery finished with a team-leading 21 points, a season-high by a Bison this season, and also passed out four assists. Senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) continued his stellar start to his final year with 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals, while senior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) surpassed 900 career points (914) by tossing in 15 in the victory.
Despite playing the extra five minutes Saturday, Bethany matched its season-low by committing just seven turnovers. It’s the fourth time in six games the Bison have had single-digit turnovers and is a big reason the Green and White leads the conference in fewest miscues committed (10.3 per game) and turnover margin (+12.17). On the other side of that equation, Bethany ranks second in the conference by forcing 22.5 turnovers per game and in Geneva, they face a team that is turning the ball over 21.2 times per game, the most in the PAC.
Turnovers played a key role in the Bison sweeping the season series from the Golden Tornadoes last year and extending their winning streak to six games over the GTs. Geneva had 24 turnovers in the first meeting at BC and senior Brady Pacific (right - Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) scored a career-high 26 points in the Bison’s 82-51 victory. In the rematch in Beaver Falls, Pa., it was 26 Geneva miscues and 21 points and six steals from Mabery that pushed Bethany to a 71-54 triumph over the GTs.
The Golden Tornadoes will be trying to snap a season-opening six-game losing skid Wednesday night. Geneva has been off since Nov. 28 when it dropped to 0-6 and 0-1 in the PAC with a 91-79 loss at Thiel. The Tomcats shot 68 percent in the first half to build a 25-point halftime lead and Geneva, who managed to get within 10 with five minutes left, couldn’t overcome the huge deficit. Senior Jordan Harbison sank seven three-pointers and finished with 21 points to lead Geneva, while senior Matt Lorello had 18.
Despite the tough start to the season, Lorello is having a huge year in the scoring column. The 6-6 senior is the top scorer in the PAC with 24.7 points per game and is also leading the league in field goal percentage at 65.6 percent. Harbison has provided the outside compliment to Lorello’s inside game, as he is scoring 9.0 points per game and is second in the PAC in three-pointers (16) and third in three-point percentage (48.5). With Lorello and Harbison leading the way, the GTs are fourth in the PAC in scoring with 72.5 points per game, but Geneva has had issues stopping teams, as they are giving up 83.8 a contest, which is ninth in the league.