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LAST SECOND SAINT VINCENT FREE THROW BEATS BISON 71-70
Jan. 8 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Saint Vincent’s Dennis Bassich hit a foul shot with 1.5 seconds left to give the visiting Bearcats a 71-70 victory over the Bethany College men’s basketball team Saturday at Hummel Field House.
The defeat, which was BC’s first in seven home games this season, dropped the Bison’s record to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in the PAC. Saint Vincent improved to 9-5 and evened its league mark at 2-2.
Bison sophomore Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) scored eight points to help the home team take a 16-10 lead five minutes into the contest. The Bearcats responded with a 17-2 run over the next six minutes and their lead grew to as large as 31-21 on a lay-up by Armani Fountain at the 6:16 mark. Bethany used a string of seven consecutive points late in the half to trim the SVC margin to 39-35 going into halftime.
The key to the opening half was Bison miscues, as their 12 turnovers led to 15 Bearcat points. Bethany did shoot 54 percent in the opening half, led by Wilcox’s 7-for-9 effort that gave him 17 markers by the break.
Early in the second half, Wilcox and junior forward British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) scored four each in an 8-0 run that put Bethany back on top 50-45. Another Alexander bucket with 8:13 to go gave the Bison their largest lead of the day at 59-49, but Saint Vincent scored 10 of the next 12 points to get back within a score and set up a frantic finish.
Bassich tied the game at 68 with two minutes left on a trey. The next points came on a pair of free throws by sophomore Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski Area) with 59 seconds on the clock, but SVC drew even again with a lay-up by Tauvon Pettiford. The Bison had two chances for the lead, but a jumper and putback were both off and after Saint Vincent grabbed the rebound, BC was whistled for a foul with the Bearcats pushing the ball up the floor. Bassich stepped to the line with 1.5 seconds showing and sank the front end of the one-and-one. He missed the second intentionally and the rebound was tipped around until the clock expired, sending Bethany to their initial home loss of the year.
For the second consecutive game, Wilcox set a career-high in scoring, as he was 10-for-14 from the floor for a personal-best 25 points. He also chipped in eight rebounds and four steals. Alexander was the only other Bison to reach double figures with 18 and also hauled down eight boards.
For Saint Vincent, Dillon Stith had a huge game off the bench with 21 points, while Bassich’s winning free throw gave him 16 points and B.J. McGill tossed in 14 and passed out six assists.
Bethany heads out on the road for their next match-up, as they travel to Kentucky for a battle with conference-unbeaten Thomas More (8-6, 4-0) Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Crestview Hills, Ky.