Jan. 18 – WASHINGTON, Pa. – The Bison basketball team used career days from Kevin Jackson (Baltimore, Md./Walbrook) and Tyrone Smothers (Baltimore, Md./Mergenthaler) to take down the Presidents of Washington & Jefferson, 66-64, on Saturday.
The first half was played close, as the back-and-forth affair saw neither team take more than a seven-point advantage. W&J notched the first basket of the game to give the Presidents’ a 2-0 lead out of the gate. However, the Bison would score the next seven points, and a three-point basket by Jackson with 18:21 to play, gave Bethany a 7-2 lead.
The teams would trade baskets, and W&J would eventually pull the game to a tie, as free throws by Brett Rubin-Goldstein knotted the game at 11-11 with 14:36 to play.
The Bison would once again respond, getting three points by Smothers and four from Jackson to jump ahead 18-11 with 11:28 remaining in the first half. The game, however, would continue the back-and-forth, as the Presidents would respond with a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game at 18-18 with 6:11 remaining.
Bethany would again run the lead out to five (25-20) on a layup by Delonte’ Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) with 2:55 remaining, but would again be answered by the Presidents.
W&J would embark on an 8-2 run which included three pointers by Doug Johnson and Eric Holmes, to take the lead 28-27 with 1:12 left in the frame. The contest would then go into the half with the game knotted at 30-30.
The second half would start off much like the first, with neither team holding more than a four point lead over the first five minutes. With the Bison clinging to a one-point advantage (40-39) with 15:33 to play, Bethany would make a push.
Over the next eight minutes, Bethany would outscore Washington & Jefferson 18-6. Jackson would be responsible for 10 of the 18 points during the run, which included two three-point baskets. A jumper by Joyce with 7:52 remaining would push the lead to its largest of the game at 13 (58-45).
Washington & Jefferson would not go away, however, and would immediately respond by scoring the next ten points of the contest. After a basket by Doug Johnson, back-to-back three pointers by Johnson and Nick Martin would cut the Bethany advantage to just five (58-53) with 6:41 left. Mike Resnik would then add two free throws to inch the Presidents closer at 58-55 with 6:09 to play.
Both teams would continue to play hard, but W&J would whittle the lead down even further, getting to within one point (62-61) on another free throw by Resnik with 3:16 to play.
The Bison would never allow the Presidents to retake the lead and would eventually push the advantage back to four points (66-62) on a layup by Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) with just six seconds to play.
It would take W&J just four seconds to respond as Mitch Locher would take the ball into the lane and convert on a layup with two seconds left on the clock to cut the lead to two (66-64). Locher would also be fouled on the play and would head to the line for a free throw.
Needing two points to tie, Locher could not convert the free throw. W&J would get the offensive rebound, but the ensuing attempt at the basket fell short as time expired and Bethany would go on for the two-point victory, 66-64.
Offensively, the Bison saw two different starters have career days on the floor. Jackson notched a career-best 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field. He also added six rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. Smothers also totaled a career high, finishing the day with 19 points while converting on 5-of-5 from the charity stripe.
Joining Jackson and Smothers in double figures was Joyce, who finished with 12 on the day. Addy added six points, while Ramel Young (Walterboro, S.C./Estill) finished with four.
The Bison will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 22, as Bethany travels to Crestview Hills, Ky., for a bout with Thomas More. The contest is set for a 7:30 p.m. start.