Jan. 2 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Behind 25 points and 20 rebounds from senior forward Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity), the Bethany men’s basketball team rolled to an 85-63 upset victory over ninth-ranked John Carroll (Ohio) University Saturday afternoon at Hummel Field House.
Consecutive hoops by Testa helped give the Bison (8-3) an early 14-9 lead, but the Blue Streaks (7-4), who were ranked ninth in the most recent D3Hoops.com poll, rallied to take an 18-16 lead with nine minutes left in the opening half. On the ensuing possession, Testa converted a conventional three-point play to put BC back on top and they would never trail again.
The play also ignited a 15-0 run, as the hosts sprinted to a 31-18 lead. Testa totaled nine of the points during the spurt, which also featured three-pointers by senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) and junior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy). John Carroll managed to cut the deficit to nine, but another three-point play by Testa, who amassed 20 points and 12 boards by the break, and a bucket by freshman James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) in the final 62 seconds gave Bethany a 40-26 halftime lead.
Halftime did nothing to hamper the Bison’s momentum, as they set the tempo for the rest of the game in the first minute. After forcing a John Carroll turnover on their opening possession, Lyonett drained a triple to swell the cushion 17 points. The lead stood at 53-36 when Bethany delivered another big run, ripping off 11 of the next 14 points. Capping the blitz was a steal by McFadden that led to a lay-up on the other end by senior Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) to give the Green and White their largest lead of the game at 64-39 with 11 minutes left.
From there, Bethany had an answer for every John Carroll attempt to get back into the game. The Blue Streaks moved within 20 on three occasions over the next few minutes, but the Bison answered each time with a score on their next possession. BC wrapped up their sixth consecutive victory by sinking 7-of-8 attempts from the foul line in the final two minutes, which sent John Carroll to their third defeat in the last four games.
Two keys to the convincing triumph were Bethany’s dominance on the glass and John Carroll’s cold shooting from the arc. The Bison posted a 52-34 rebounding advantage, marking the 10th time in 11 games they out-rebounded their opponent this season. The Blue Streaks hit just 3-of-22 attempts from deep after averaging 10 treys and 42 percent accuracy from three-point territory coming into the day.
Leading the way for Bethany was Testa with a monster game. He hit 11-of-19 from the floor to set a new career-high with 25 points, hauled down 20 rebounds for the second time in the last three games and also made five steals. The 6-3 forward became the first Bison to surpass 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game since current assistant coach Matt Drahos totaled 32 and 26 in a victory over Westminster Jan. 28, 2006.
Other big efforts from the Green and White came from Opalka, who scored 12 of his career-high 18 in the second half. Freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards, while Lyonett reached double figures with 10 markers. McFadden posted a good all-around game as well, registering nine points, eight assists and five rebounds.
John Carroll’s efforts were paced by Matt Crozier with 21 points and Corey Shontz with 19.
The Bison will not have a long time to enjoy the big victory, as they are back on the court Monday night when they host Thiel in a PAC battle. Tip-off at Hummel Field House is scheduled for 8 p.m.