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BISON WIN STREAK STOPPED AT THOMAS MORE IN 68-57 LOSS
Feb. 1 - CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team led by two at halftime, but shot 33 percent in the second half, while host Thomas More hit 57 percent from the floor to rally for a 68-57 victory Wednesday night in a PAC contest.
The outcome tightened the PAC race significantly. The Bison fall to 17-3 overall and 9-2 in the conference, while the Saints (14-7, 9-3) are now just a half-game behind BC. In addition, Saint Vincent (15-5, 8-3) handed conference leader Thiel (14-5, 11-1) its first PAC loss of the season by a 78-64 score Wednesday, meaning the top four teams are now within a two-game bunch in the standings.
Bethany led for a good part of the first half and off the strength of a 10-0 run midway through the period, took as large as a 24-15 lead in the opening stanza. The Saints responded with 11 straight points to start a 15-3 spurt to take a 30-27 advantage. The Bison would make the last run of the half, as junior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) scored a lay-up and junior Reece Mabery (Natrona Heights, Pa./Highlands) buried a long three as the horn sounded to give the Green and White a 32-30 lead going into halftime.
Wilcox hit a triple to open the second half, but Thomas More would heat up quickly from the floor. Back-to-back lay-ups by Drew Mumford and Colt Stafford gave TMC its first advantage of the second half. The lead changed hands four times over a short period of time, with BC going in front for the final time on a jumper by junior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) for a 42-41 lead with 11:44 to go. On the next trip down, Thomas More’s Daniel Whelan hit a three to start an 11-0 charge that gave the hosts a 52-42 lead.
The Bison would not go quietly, as they had one more push left. After falling behind by 11, BC ripped off 10 of the next 12 points and was within three at 60-57 following a Wilcox lay-up with 3:28 to play. However, that proved to be the final points of the game for Bethany, as they missed their final eight shots and turned it over twice. Meanwhile, Thomas More sealed the win by going 6-for-6 from the foul line down the stretch and the Bison’s four-game winning streak came to an end.
Bethany’s attack was led by Wilcox, who compiled 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals. He fell short of two milestones, as he now has 996 points and 195 steals, which is two away from breaking the school’s all-time record.
Also reaching double figures was Pacific with 11 and senior forward British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) grabbed a game-high 11 boards.
For Thomas More, Whelan came off the bench to score 12 of his 17 points after halftime to lead all scorers. Stafford dropped in 15 and Drew Mumford amassed 13 points, six rebounds and five assists as well.
Bethany will try to get back on the winning side and continue to make a push for the lead in the PAC on Saturday when they host Washington & Jefferson at 4 p.m.