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BISON TRY TO KEEP HOME UNBEATEN STREAK GOING SATURDAY
Jan. 7 - BETHANY, W.Va. –The Bethany College men’s basketball team will face another test to their unbeaten start at home this season Saturday when they host Saint Vincent in a 4 p.m. tip-off at Hummel Field House.
The Bison (9-4, 3-1) improved to 6-0 on their home floor this year with a convincing 75-50 victory over Grove City Thursday. After scoring the first 15 points of the game, BC’s lead was never less than 12 the rest of the game, as they shot 48 percent from the floor and set season-highs in free throws (21) and attempts (28). Sophomore Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) scored a career-high 23 points and junior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) notched his second straight double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
That Bethany is off to such a good start at home should come as no surprise. Since 2000, the Bison have a 103-24 record at Hummel Field House for a winning percentage of 81.1 and this is the second time in the last three years BC has started 6-0 in their home schedule. Bethany has been very impressive in their home victories this season, with three of them coming by 25 points or more and their average margin of victory on their court is 16 points.
In addition to the season-high in free throws, the Bison also matched their best this year with 10 three-pointers. Bethany is the top-ranked team in the PAC in three-point percentage at 41.5 and has a host of players who can shoot it from deep. Sophomore James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) has been the hottest shooter of late, as he made three treys in Monday’s loss at Thiel and went 3-for-4 from the arc on his way to 10 points in the Grove City win. The 5-10 guard is now fourth in the PAC in three-point percentage (46.0) and seventh in triples per game (1.77).
Barton (11) and Wilcox (16) were the only Bison to score in double digits the last time they played Saint Vincent, but nine different players scored in a 70-49 Bethany victory back on Feb. 15, 2010. It gave BC a season sweep over the Bearcats after they claimed a 62-56 win earlier in the year in Latrobe, as the all-time series between the schools is now tied at 7-7.
There are very few similarities between last year’s Saint Vincent team and this season. After finishing with a 6-19 record last winter, the Bearcats are 8-5 so far this season, and 1-2 in their first year of eligibility in the PAC. They are coming off a 73-65 triumph over Geneva Thursday night, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Saint Vincent took a 43-31 halftime lead in the contest and held off a second-half charge from the Golden Tornadoes. Leading the way in the win was B.J. McGill and Dennis Bassich, who both put in 22 points and McGill added eight rebounds and six assists.
The revamped Bearcat attack features one veteran from last year in McGill. The 6-0 guard is second in the PAC in scoring (18.0), first in assists (6.15) and fourth in steals (2.31). A lot of the other production comes from new players, including the team’s leading scorer in 6-2 freshman guard Isaac Turner. He was scoring 18.9 points through the first nine games, but has missed the last four and his status for Saturday is uncertain. Bassich is a junior transfer who is firing in 14.1 markers a contest and is the team’s top three-point threat with 30 trifectas. The inside game is sparked by 6-8 freshman Grant Latus, who leads the PAC in blocked shots (2.33) to go along with 7.7 points and 6.0 boards a game.