Nov. 17 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) scored a game-high 21 and senior Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) notched a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bethany men’s basketball team to a 77-61 victory over visiting LaRoche Monday night in the season opener for both teams.
The decision made a winner out of new Bison head coach Mike Summey in his debut, making him the first BC coach to be victorious in his initial contest since Pat Stewart posted a 93-90 win over Washington & Lee in his inaugural outing in 1990.
Bethany went wild from the arc in the opening half, draining 7-of-15 attempts from deep to run out to a 44-25 halftime advantage. Testa buried two triples and Petkovski hit one in an 11-4 run to open the game. The Redhawks, who were predicted to finish second in the AMCC preseason poll, chipped away and drew even at 17-17 on a Nate Wojciechowski trey midway through the half.
The Bison caught fire from the outside again to seize control. Senior Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) sandwiched a lay-in and three around a pair of trifectas from Petkovski that pushed BC in front 30-19 and the hosts kept surging to open the 19-point lead at the break. Bethany would shoot 50 percent in the first half (14-28), but their defense triggered the opening blitz, as they forced LaRoche into 11 first half turnovers that were converted into 16 points.
The Redhawks hit a three to start the second half, but that was answered by a four-point play from Testa, who stepped back to drain a trey and was fouled in the process. A bonus bomb from junior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) gave the Bison their largest lead of the night at 61-36 with 9:25 left and Bethany cruised to the triumph, which gives them a 7-1 record in their last eight home openers.
Testa, who had two games of 20+ points through his first two seasons, went 6-for-11 from the field, including 3-for-5 from deep, to come up one shy of his career-high. He also pulled in eight rebounds. Petkovski (8-12 from field, 4-6 from arc) led everyone with his 11 boards, which marked his first double-double in a Bethany uniform. Morando also chipped in with 14 points.
The Redhawks had three tally double figures, led by Dylan Grazier with 13, Wojciechowski with 11 and Joel McIntosh with 10 off the bench.
The Bison will return to action Friday night with a stern test, as they travel to Erie, Pa., to compete in the Penn State Behrend Tournament over the weekend. Bethany will take on the host Lions (24-5 in 2007-08) in the first round Friday night at 8 p.m. in a match-up of two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.