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BISON TRY TO MAINTAIN 2ND PLACE STANDING WEDNESDAY AT THIEL
Feb. 3 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany men’s basketball team will try to remain in second place in the PAC Wednesday when they travel to Thiel for an 8 p.m. tip-off against the Tomcats.
The Bison (11-9, 5-3) are coming off a disappointing 78-74 setback to Geneva Saturday, which did not hurt them in the conference standings because Geneva is still a provisional member of the NCAA. BC cut a 15-point second half deficit to one on three occasions, but just couldn’t get all the way over the hump. Freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) scored 27 points and made five steals, while sophomore Dakota Matz (Zanesville, Ohio) dropped in 13.
Saturday’s loss was rare for the Bison on a couple of fronts. It was the second in a row for BC at home, just the third time in the last eight years the Green and White have dropped consecutive games at Hummel Field House. In the Geneva game, Bethany went to the free throw line 29 times. It’s the 13th game this season the Green and White have made it to the charity stripe at least 20 times, but only the fourth loss under those circumstances.
Beckwith's big game Saturday just continues his sensational freshman season as a Bison. Saturday was his 11th game in double figures and his third this year with 20+. He has now jumped to fifth in the PAC in scoring with 13.4 points per game, all while coming off the bench throughout the campaign. Beckwith is making a home at the foul line, as he went 14-for-17 against Geneva, the fifth-most free throws made in a game by a Bison in school history. For the year, he has made it to the charity stripe 105 times, third-most in the league behind only Thomas More’s Daniel McKeehan (118) and Washington & Jefferson’s Josip Lucic-Jozak (114). Beckwith has made 81 of his attempts (77.1 percent) to rank ninth in the PAC.
Every team in the conference is currently looking up at Thomas More, who leads the PAC with a 7-2 mark. The Bison are tied with Westminster for second place at 5-3, while W&J sits at 4-3 and Grove City is 4-4. Westminster will host W&J Wednesday night in another key match-up, while GCC is off until Saturday.
Bethany would be happy to duplicate their first result against Thiel this year, which came Jan. 3. In a game that featured 23 lead changes and 10 ties, the Bison trailed by one with three minutes to play, but used a 10-2 spurt to close the game and pull out a 77-70 victory. BC forced 24 turnovers, which helped counter a 43-31 Tomcat rebounding advantage. Junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) led Bethany with 16 points and 12 boards, while Nick Sefcsik finished with 17 for Thiel.
The loss to Bethany was part of a 13-game losing streak for the Tomcats, which they stopped with a 74-54 win at Waynesburg Jan. 24. Their last result was an 88-64 defeat at Thomas More Jan. 28, a game in which the Saints shot 56 percent from the floor (29-52) and 61 percent (11-18) from the arc. Brandon Mirizio had 15 points for Thiel, who committed 21 turnovers in the loss. For the year, the Tomcats have turned the ball over an average of 19.4 times per game, the most in the PAC.
Sefcsik in the top scorer for Thiel this year with 10.6 points per game and is also their top threat from the perimeter, as he’s hit 45.8 percent (33-72) of his three-point attempts. Also scoring in double figures is Cory Chafee at 10.1, while Keebo Dowe is the go-to man inside. He posted 13 points and 17 rebounds in the first meeting with Bethany and is averaging 6.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.