The Bison had their two-game winning streak stopped, as they fell to 5-4, while the Lions ran their winning streak to four in row in upping their mark to 5-4.
BC enjoyed a hot start to the night, as sophomore Ryan Besancon (Wooster, Ohio/Waynedale) had nine during Bethany’s opening 16-8 spurt. However, that was answered by a 14-2 run from the Lions, with eight of those markers coming from Colin Geiger. Senior guard Brody Jackson’s (Akron, Ohio/Manchester) three put BC on top again 21-20, but Altoona responded with seven consecutive points and went on to build a 38-32 cushion by halftime.
Geiger and Sean Stewart had eight points each to lead a Lion club that shot 48 percent (13-27) in the first half. Jackson had a trio of threes and 13 points but the Bison were limited to just 38 percent (12-32) shooting in the opening period.
Bethany once again enjoyed a quick start to a half, as consecutive treys by Jackson and junior forward Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) capped an 8-2 run that tied the game at 40-40. And once again, the Lions would respond, as they ripped off 10 of the next 12 points and when Mike Dancer splashed a three through the net, the visitors had their biggest lead of the night at 52-42 with 14 minutes to play.
Bethany made their comeback bid midway through the second half. Down 56-47 with 10:30 to play, Marcus Adams (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) started the rally with a lay-in and also ended the 12-2 spell with a traditional three-point play, putting the Bison in front 59-58 with 7:34 left. However, Altoona would answer with scores on their next two trips down the floor to surge back in front 63-59 and they would maintain their lead until the final seconds.
The Bison were within one until the Lions’ Zach Spitz scored on a lay-up with 20 seconds to play, making it a 68-65 BC deficit. Out of a timeout, Jackson launched a three from the top of the key but it was no good. Besancon hauled down the offensive rebound and Jackson had another look from deep, but it was off the mark and Altoona escaped with the heart-stopping win.
With his 23 points, Jackson, who also had five steals, has now gone for 20 or more in five contests this season. Also reaching double figures was Adams, who totaled 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, and Petkovski, who finished with 11.
Penn State-Altoona, who enjoyed a 37-6 advantage in bench points, were led by Quintin Dziabo and Stewart with 14 and Geiger with an even dozen.
Bethany will complete the first half of the schedule on Wednesday with a trip to LaRoche (Pa.) College for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off with the Redhawks. It will be the final contest for the Bison until January 2nd when they host Lake Erie (Ohio) College.