BISON WINNING STREAK SNAPPED WITH 65-54 LOSS AT GROVE CITY
Jan. 7 - GROVE CITY, Pa. –The Bethany men’s basketball team (8-4, 3-1) shot a season-low 32 percent from the floor, as their seven-game winning streak ended Thursday with a 65-54 setback at Grove City (8-5, 3-1).
Both teams hit a pair of three-pointers in the opening two minutes, but the Bison shooting grew cold after that. The Wolverines knocked down 57 percent (13-23) of their attempts from the floor in the opening 20 minutes and took as large as a 10-points lead at 28-18 with 4:48 left in the period. Bethany stayed in the game because of free throw shooting, as senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) scored nine from the charity stripe and junior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) had four to help BC close the deficit to 35-29 by the intermission.
The Bison’s shooting looked like it was coming around in the second half when senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) buried back-to-back treys to cut the Grove City lead to 42-41 with 9:30 to play. The Wolverines answered back by notching eight of the next 10 markers to extend the lead back to 50-43. Bethany moved as close as four on three separate occasions, with the last coming on a trey by freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) with 2:03 remaining to bring BC within striking distance at 55-51.
That was as low as Grove City would let their lead get, as they put the game away by scoring 10 consecutive points. While GCC was going on their game-clinching run, Bethany committed three straight turnovers. Despite a three from Wilcox in the closing seconds, the Bison finished the game with their lowest point total since posting 43 in a 2002 loss at Franklin & Marshall.
In addition to making just 17-of-53 from the field (32.1 percent) and 7-of-26 from the arc (26.9 percent), BC was also out-rebounded for the second consecutive game (36-33). Wilcox paced the Bethany offense by scoring a career-high 19, while Testa notched his fourth double-double of the year with 15 points and 12 boards. The senior forward now has 988 career points, leaving him 12 away from becoming the 22nd Bison player to reach 1,000 for his career.
Grove City was led by Andy O’Keefe with 18 markers and Joe McCoy with 15.
Bethany will return to action on Saturday night with a road trip to Latrobe, Pa., to take on Saint Vincent at 8 p.m.