March 4 - ERIE, Pa. – The Bethany men’s basketball team’s season came to an end Wednesday night with a 73-69 loss at Penn State Behrend in the ECAC South Tournament Quarterfinals.
The teams exchanged spurts throughout the first half. Behrend guard Tom Newman hit a three and a lay-up during an 8-0 Lion run which gave the hosts a 17-10 advantage. The Bison answered with seven consecutive points, including a three from junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) and a three-point play from sophomore Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy), to even the score at 19 with nine minutes left in the half.
After the teams swapped buckets, Behrend went on a 9-2 run to build their biggest lead of the half at 30-22. It looked like it would be an eight-point contest at the break, but BC freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) banked in a runner at the horn to make it a 36-30 Lion lead at halftime.
The Lions hit two foul shots to begin the second half, but the Bison roared into the lead with their biggest surge of the night. Sophomore Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio) started it with a lay-up and capped the 12-0 run with a three-point play to push BC in front 42-38. Bethany was still in front by four (49-45) with 10:34 left following a pair of Beckwith foul shots.
Behrend would respond with a quick barrage of three-pointers. During a 16-5 spurt, Newman hit one trey and Adam Kaiser cashed in three, including a triple with 5:53 left to give the hosts their largest lead of the contest at 63-54. Bethany charged back with a three from senior Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) and a lay-up from Beckwith. Twice in the final two minutes, the Bison moved within a basket, the last coming on a score from Matz with 33 seconds left to make it a 67-65 Lion lead.
On the next possession, Behrend missed the front end of a one-and-one, but was rewarded possession when the ball went out of bounds off a Bison. The Lions then hit 1-of-2 from the line to make it a three-point advantage and BC has possession with a chance to tie. However, they turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds pass and Behrend clinched the win by going 4-for-5 from the charity stripe in the final 21 seconds.
Beckwith led Bethany in scoring with 17 points and also grabbed nine rebounds. Junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Matz equaled Testa with 16 markers and also passed out three assists. Rounding out the double-digit scorers for the Bison was sophomore Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) with 10 points.
For Behrend, Newman notched 22 points and 11 rebounds and Kaiser totaled 20 points.
For the Bison, they set a new school-record with 29 games played and head coach Mike Summey finished with the most wins by a first-year head coach in BC history, surpassing the previous mark of 15 set by R.A. Easterday in 1921-22 and John J. Knight in 1930-31. Wednesday’s loss was also the final game in the Bethany careers of three seniors, including Petkovski, Carey Palermo (Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline) and Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central).