Dec. 6 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) had 18 points and 13 rebounds, but the Bethany men’s basketball team had to hold on as a Waynesburg three-pointer at the buzzer was just off the mark to allow the Bison to escape with a 78-76 win Saturday at Hummel Field House.
Bethany (5-3, 1-1) raced out of the gate, as back-to-back lay-ups from junior Ryan Besancon (Wooster, Ohio/Waynedale) capped BC’s 19-8 blitz to open the game. The Yellow Jackets’ Dan Happe started his huge game by canning four threes in a 16-5 surge that tied the game at 24. The Bison went back in front on a free throw by Testa and BC would carry a 43-40 lead into halftime.
Waynesburg tied the game at 47 early in the second half, but Bethany pulled ahead with a 16-5 run that featured five points from freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) to give BC a 63-52 lead with 10 minutes to play.
The Yellow Jackets began chipping away behind Happe’s shooting. He had two foul shots and a three to cut the deficit to four and then later swished a trio of foul shots after being fouled behind the arc to bring Waynesburg within two at 72-70 at the 2:52 mark. Two free throws from sophomore Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio) and Beckwith each seemed to give Bethany a comfortable 76-70 margin with 1:16 to play.
Happe would hit two more threes to keep his team within striking distance, including a triple with five ticks to play to trim BC’s lead to 77-76. A Bison foul shot made it a two-point game and after a timeout, Happe had a shot for the win, but his three-pointer from 35 feet as the horn sounded hit off the back iron.
The Bison, who notched their 13th consecutive victory over Waynesburg, recorded a 48-38 advantage on the boards, which helped counter BC’s 3-for-20 shooting from three-point land. It was the fewest trifectas hit by a Bethany team since Dec. 16, 2006, when BC hit only two in a 123-105 victory over Mount Aloysius.
Bethany’s efforts on the boards were led by Testa, who recorded his second double-double of the season and tied his career-high with 13 rebounds. Three others reached double digits, including Matz with 16 and a game-high six assists, Beckwith with a career-high 14 and senior Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va,/Wheeling Central) with 10.
Happe led all scorers in the game with 29 points, which came on 8-for-13 shooting from deep.
The Bison are off until next Saturday when they travel to Geneva for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off in Beaver Falls, Pa. Bethany swept both meetings with the Golden Tornadoes last year, including an 87-62 triumph at Geneva.