Jan. 14 - NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Junior forward Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) scored a game-high 21 points and junior James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) dropped in 15 of his 20 in the second half as the Bethany College men’s basketball team fended off an upset minded Westminster squad for a 76-66 victory Saturday.
The Bison, who are 6-0 in road games this season, are now 14-2 overall and 6-1 in the PAC. The Titans dropped their ninth in a row and stand at 2-13 and 1-6 in the conference.
Bethany controlled much of the first half, racing out to a 19-7 lead to start the game and the margin expanded to 30-17 on a pair of foul shots by Wilcox with 6:20 left. Westminster heated up from the arc to close the first half, as Doug Smith hit two and Ron Martino and Anthony Thomas both knocked down one to trim the deficit to four before a lay-up from BC junior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) just before the halftime horn made it a 37-31 Bethany lead at the break.
The Titans made several runs at the Bison in the second half, but the Green and White answered back each time to keep the home team at bay. After Westminster moved within three, Bison junior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) hit a lay-up. A couple minutes later when the Titans were within a bucket, Barton cashed in a three to start a 12-4 spurt that took the Bethany lead to 59-49 with 7:28 to go.
Westminster made one more push to get back into the game. They were within three on two occasions in the final four minutes and had a good look at a tying trey with 1:21 to go, but it was off the mark. Bethany answered with a Barton trifecta and then cinched up their ninth straight win over Westminster by going 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 31 seconds.
Wilcox had a strong line for the game with 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Barton hit four three-pointer and notched 20, his second-highest total of the season. Senior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) recorded his fourth double-double of the year with 16 points and 13 boards and Mabery finished 6-for-6 from the foul line and totaled 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Leading the Titans was Thomas and Smith with 16 points apiece.
Bethany will close out the first half of the PAC schedule Wednesday with a home game against Saint Vincent. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.