The triumph improved Bethany to 7-7 overall and 3-1 in the conference. It also pulled BC into a first place tie with the defending conference champion Wolverines, who are now 9-5 and 3-1.
Bethany sophomore Ryan Besancon (Wooster, Ohio/Waynedale) started the hot-shooting early, as he buried his first two threes, but a lay-up from GCC’s Luke Tomaselli put the hosts in front 14-12. Two trips later, Jackson began his first half eruption by swishing a trey, which ignited a 19-4 blitz that featured five trifectas by the Bison. Late in the half, Jackson hit his sixth triple of the period and Besancon scored a lay-up with eight seconds left to send BC into the locker room with a 44-28 advantage.
Jackson tallied 22 by the break by hitting 8-of-12 from the floor, including 6-of-8 from the arc. As a team, Bethany hit 10-of-20 from three-point territory. Grove City’s Andy O’Keefe tallied eight points to lead his squad at the break.
Grove City moved within 13 early in the second half but threes from junior Tyler Morando (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) and Besancon keyed a 10-0 Bison run that swelled the Green and White cushion to 56-33. The lead grew to as large as 29 when Jackson put an exclamation point on his day by stroking a three from beyond NBA range, which was his eighth of the game and the team’s 17th. Grove City would score the game’s final nine points, but Bethany had secured the win to draw even with the Wolverines in the conference standings.
In going for a season-high 28, Jackson was 8-for-12 from deep as part of his 10-for-16 performance from the floor. In addition, the 6-0 guard passed out a team-high seven assists and pulled down five rebounds. Besancon also had a great day, notching his first double-double of the year with a career-high 22 points and tying his personal best with 11 rebounds.
O’Keefe was Grove City’s top scorer for the day, dropping in 12, while Shawn Carr had four points and a team-high six rebounds.
Bethany will return to action Wednesday with a non-conference fray at Franciscan (Ohio) University. The Bison return to the PAC section of their schedule next Saturday when they host Westminster (Pa.) College at 4 p.m.