Dec. 30 – CLEVELAND, Ohio – Despite a career day by junior Delonte’ Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis), the Bethany men’s basketball team (9-2) dropped a 76-71 overtime decision to Case Western Reserve University on Monday.
The Spartans forced Bethany to play catch-up early, as Case Western Reserve notched the first 14 points of the game to take a 14-0 lead over the first five minutes of play.
Bethany would fight back quickly, coming back with a 12-2 run to close within four points (16-12). Lawrence Weldon (Baltimore, Md./Poly) sparked the run, notching six of the 12 points. Joyce pulled the Bison within four with a steal and fastbreak layup with 11:19 remaining in the half.
Case Western Reserve would counter with a small 8-2 run to push the lead back to double digits (24-14) at the 8:25 mark of the first half. However, Bethany would come back with a 10-4 run of their own, pulling the game back to just a four-point Spartan advantage (28-24) thanks to a basket by Kevin Jackson (Baltimore, Md./Walbrook) with 4:30 to play.
The Spartans would once again extend the lead, this time to as many as seven points (31-24), before the Bison ended the first half on an 8-2 run. During the run, Bethany received a three-point basket from Ramel Young (Walterboro, S.C./Estill) and three points from Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) to cut the Case Western advantage to just one point (33-32) at the break.
In the second frame, the Bison would capture their first lead of the contest as Joyce and Weldon notched back-to-back buckets to take a three-point lead (36-33). After the Spartans tied the game once again, thanks to a three pointer by Tim Chung, the Bison would put together another run.
With the contest tied at 36-36, Joyce rattled off the next six points of the contest to give Bethany a six-point advantage (42-36) with 15:44 to play in regulation.
Case Western would turn the tide quickly, as the Spartans outscored Bethany 14-1 over the next six minutes to recapture a seven-point advantage (50-43) with 9:23 to go in the second stanza.
The Bison would continue to fight in the contest, and would claw their way back to tie the ball game at 57-57 on a jumper by Joyce with four minutes to play. The teams would then trade baskets twice more, and find themselves knotted at 61-61 with just over one minute remaining in regulation.
Both teams would have two opportunities to score the go-ahead basket in the final 1:20, but neither team would convert and the game would head to overtime with the contest still knotted at 61-61.
Case Western would open the overtime session on a 7-2 run to jump out to a five-point advantage (68-63) with 2:58 to play in the game. However, Joyce would notch the next six points of the contest over two minutes to give the Bison a one-point lead (69-68) with 1:28 remaining.
A jumper by Jimmy Holman would help Case Western retake the lead and the Spartans would finish off the game on an 8-2 run to hand the Bison the five-point defeat (76-71).
It was a career day for Joyce, who notched a double-double in an unconventional way. Along with scoring a career-high 30 points on 12-of-21 shooting, Joyce also totaled a career mark in steals, finishing with 10. His 10 steals mark the third-best single-game performance in steals in school history. The current single game steals record is 12 set by Reece Mabery at Waynesburg in 2011.
Joining Joyce in double figures offensively were Jackson and Weldon. Weldon finished with 13 points, while Jackson added 10 on the day.
Bethany will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 4, as they get back into conference play with a PAC matchup at Thiel. The contest with the Tomcats is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.