Feb. 19 -WASHINGTON, Pa. – Fifth-seeded Washington & Jefferson used a 14-0 run over the final five minutes of the game to rally for a 70-64 upset victory over the fourth-seeded Bethany College men’s basketball team Tuesday night in a PAC Tournament Quarterfinal match-up.
The beginning of the game also featured a huge run by the Presidents (9-17). A 23-5 blitz, which saw W&J make nine of their first 11 shots, was capped by a trey from Doug Johnson with 14:30 to go in the first half. Bethany called timeout and immediately turned the tables. The Bison outscored the visitors 28-4 over the next 11 minutes, ending with a string of five consecutive treys to lift BC to a 33-27 lead. The Presidents scored four straight but a triple by senior James Barton (right - Bethel Park, Pa.) sent the Green and White into halftime with a 36-31 lead.
It took awhile for the offenses to get going in the second half, as the first bucket came on a lay-up by W&J’s Ben Cecchini two and half minutes into the period. Senior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) then hit for five points in a row to ignite a 9-0 spurt that gave the Bison their largest lead of the game at 45-33with 14:45 to go.
The Presidents made a move to get within two but Bethany (16-10) responded with 12-6 push and a three-pointer by senior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) had the Bison in front 64-56 with five minutes to play. But that would be the final point of the game for BC, as they missed their final nine shots while W&J rallied. A three-pointer by Nate Bellhy tied the game at 64 with three minutes left and the Presidents used lay-ups from Johnson, Ben Cecchini and Bellhy to finish the scoring and complete the upset.
Bethany finished the game shooting 40 percent from the field, but hit only 30 percent from the arc (11-36). Mabery (right) led the Bethany offense with 18 points and he added five steals and four assists. Pacific was the only other Bison to reach double digits with a dozen.
For the Presidents, who advanced to the PAC semifinals Thursday night at #1 Saint Vincent, four players finished the game with double figures, led by Johnson with 19, Nate Bellhy with 18 and Cecchini with 16.