April 18 - SOFT vs. Thomas More (L, 6-0/L, 6-0), MTEN at Mt. Aloysius (W, 8-1); April 18 - SOFT vs. BW (L, 2-0/ W, 9-7), MTEN vs. PS-Altoona (W, 5-4), BASE at Waynesburg (W, 6-3/L, 3-1)

Bison Primed for Another 1st Place Battle Wednesday with Thomas More

Jan. 15 - BETHANY, W.Va. – For the second time in less than two weeks, the Bethany College men’s basketball team will be in a showdown for first place in the PAC when the Bison host Thomas More Wednesday night at 8 p.m.

Bethany has been trailing the PAC standings since suffering a 69-66 loss at Saint Vincent Jan. 5th that lifted the Bearcats into the top spot in the league. But with the Bison’s 109-72 rout of Washington & Jefferson and Thomas More knocking off Saint Vincent 64-59 Saturday, those three teams are all locked atop the standings at 6-1. While the Bison and Saints will match up to close out the first half of the PAC slate, the Bearcats will play at Waynesburg Wednesday night.


8144Addy12.jpg The BC victory over W&J was highlighted by a remarkable shooting display, as the Green and White made 59 percent of its shots from the field and 15 three-pointers. Junior Leslie Addy (right - Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) set a new career-high with 18 points by halftime and finished the game y hitting 7-of-9 three-point attempts to notch 33 points and had 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Senior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) lit it up from deep as well with four treys and 20 points and senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) totaled 15 points, nine rebounds and six steals.

Bethany had been in somewhat of a shooting slump before the W&J game, which included a season-low 32 percent performance in the loss to Carnegie Mellon Jan. 7. But the Bison found their stroke at home, which should come as no surprise since the Green and White is 8-0 on their floor and have won 15 straight dating back to last year. While Bethany is leading the PAC in scoring (81.9) and three-point percentage (36.0), their numbers at home are even more impressive. The Bison have posted 92 or more points in five of their eight home games and their accuracy from the arc jumps to 39.9 percent. Senior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski), who is shooting nearly 39 percent from deep overall, seems to enjoy the scenery at home the most, as his numbers jump to 48.1 percent in games at Bethany.

3192Mabery12.jpg The recent series between Bethany and Thomas More have seen plenty of high-stake games, as the teams have met in the PAC Tournament four of the last five years. The Bison have won five of the last six meetings between the programs, including a 58-53 decision in the PAC Tournament Championship game last year. Bethany had a 20-point second-half lead chopped down to one with 38 seconds to play, but Addy sank two free throws and senior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) hit four in the closing seconds to preserve the win. Mabery (right) finished with a game-high 16 points and five steals.

Thomas More (13-3, 6-1) has steadied the ship after losing three of five in December by winning four in a row since January began. The Saints climbed into the first place tie by using a big second half to down Saint Vincent, who led by five at halftime. But TMC shot 58 percent (11-19) from the field and 86 percent (19-22) from the foul line in the second half to rally for the victory. As has been the story all year for Thomas More, a balanced offense was the key, as 10 players scored but no one had more than nine. Point guard D’Carlo Hayes had those nine points, which all came from the foul line, while Josef Marshall, Jalen Clark and Chris Richard all chipped in eight.

Wednesday’s game will pit two teams with similar styles. While Bethany ranks first in scoring, Thomas More is right behind with 78.1 points per game. Both squads rely on defensive pressure as well, as the Saints force a PAC-high 23.1 turnovers per game and the Bison are second at 20.7. The balance on offense makes Thomas More a tough team to defend, as 11 different players are averaging five or more points per game. Hayes is the lone man in double figures with 11.1 a game, while Brandon Housley, who is this week’s PAC Player of the Week, is next with 8.6.