Nov. 16 - PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Bethany men's basketball team had a 32-29 halftime lead, but shot just 30 percent (7-23) in the second half, as LaRoche rallied for a 66-58 victory over the Bison in their season opener Monday night.
The Redhawks led by two midway through the opening period, but Bethany scored eight straight to take their largest lead of the night at 28-22 and then scored four of the half's final five points to take a 32-29 lead into intermission. The Bison still led by one early in the second half, but LaRoche's Dylan Grazier scored eight points in a 10-1 spurt that propelled the hosts to a 48-40 advantage.
Bethany was able to slice the deficit to five several times, the last coming on a Ryan McFadden (Columbus Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) jumper with 2:58 to go to make it 57-52. However, Grazier canned another three on the next trip to swell the cushion back to eight and the Redhawks secured the decision by draining 6-of-7 from the foul line in the final minute.
Although Bethany finished the night with a 33-25 rebounding advantage, their cold shooting turned the tide, as they went cold the same time the Redhawks heated up. LaRoche knocked down 50 percent (13-26) of their tries from the field after halftime, including 5-of-11 (46 percent) from the arc
Leading Bethany in their opener was junior guard Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) with 12 markers, while senior forward Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) totaled 11 and freshman forward Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Twp.) narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. Grazier paced the LaRoche effort with 22 points off five three-pointers.
The Bison will be back on the court Friday night in the opening round of the Wendy's Classic at West Liberty University. Bethany will square off with Division II Wheeling Jesuit at 5:30 Friday evening and then battle Pitt-Titusville Saturday at 5:30.