Jan. 8 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team (11-2, 5-0 PAC) returned to the friendly confines of Hummel Field House in style, as the Bison cruised to a 96-56 victory over Westminster College on Wednesday.
The Bison never trailed in the contest, opening the game on a 24-6 run over the first eight minutes of the half. The run was fueled by Delonte’ Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis), who scored nine of the 24.
Westminster would get as close as 15 (31-16) with 6:49 to play in the half, but the Bison would then push the lead back out to a 23-point advantage (46-23) thanks to a three by Joyce with 3:07 remaining in the stanza. Bethany would head into the break with a 47-25 advantage.
Joyce and Ramel Young (Walterboro, S.C./Estill) controlled the first half for the Bison, as the two combined for 30 of the team’s 47 points, shooting 11-of-19 from the field. Joyce was the big star, as he finished the first frame with a scorching 22 points, which included shooting 4-of-5 from deep.
Young added an exclamation point on the first half with a fantastic alley oop dunk. On a pass from Tyrone Smothers (Baltimore, Md./Mergenthaler) from the three-point line, Young got behind the Titan defense and went up high to finish with both hands and send Hummel Field House into a roar.
Bethany could seem to do no wrong in the first half, forcing 16 Titan turnovers, which led to 22 points. The Bison also outrebounded Westminster 26-11, including 13 offensive boards. Holding the Titans to 37 percent shooting, Bethany allowed Westminster to convert just six made field goals to go into the break with the 22-point advantage.
In the second half, it was more of the same, as Bethany outscored Westminster by 18 points in the second stanza to go on for the 40-point victory. The win marked Bethany’s largest margin of victory this season, as the team has twice defeated an opponent by 39 points (102-63 over Penn State Dubois and 91-62 at Geneva).
Offensively, the Bison were led by Joyce, who was just one point shy of his career-high, finishing the day with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He also added four steals and four rebounds in 29 minutes of work.
Joining Joyce in double figures were Young and Alan Harper (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic). Harper finished with a career-best 11 points, marking the first double-digit scoring output of his career. Young finished with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds to go along with two steals.
Eleven of the 12 Bison that stepped on the court scored at least one basket. Lawrence Weldon (Baltimore, Md./Poly) and Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) each finished with nine points, while Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) scored eight. Smothers added six points, while freshman Pedro Lalor (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) finished with five points and a career-high seven assists.
As a team, the Bison set season highs in assists (24) and steals (19). They also forced the Titans into 28 turnovers, which also marks a season best for Bethany, defensively.
The Bison will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 11, as they play host to Saint Vincent College. The contest with the Bearcats is scheduled to follow the women’s game, which begins at 2 p.m.