Feb. 8 - BETHANY, W.Va. – A three-pointer by Cody Fleeger with 1.1 seconds to play gave first place Grove City (14-7, 8-2) a 71-68 victory over the Bethany College men’s basketball team (14-7, 6-4) Monday night at Hummel Field House.
The first half was tight throughout, with three ties, four lead changes and neither team holding larger than a four-point lead. The contest was tied at 23 until buckets by Bison senior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) and junior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) gave the hosts a 27-23 lead. After the teams exchanged hoops, GCC scored the final three points of the half to trim the BC margin to 29-28 going into halftime.
Bethany roared out the second half locker room to take the largest lead of the night. Triples by freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township), McFadden and senior Jay Lyonett (Weirton, W.Va./Brooke) highlighted a 19-6 spurt, which gave the Bison a 48-34 advantage with 14:27 left. The BC cushion was still double figures midway through the period before the Wolverines erupted for a 19-4 blitz and when Andy O’Keefe cashed in two free throws with 3:11 remaining, GCC had a 65-60 lead.
The Bison would charge back with two foul shots by Lyonett and a trey from senior Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan), but the tie was short-lived when Joe McCoy put Grove City back in front with a trifecta. Once again, Bethany had an answer when Lyonett delivered a game-tying three with 1:26 to go. The Green and White managed to get a stop on defensive, but a turnover on the other end allowed the Wolverines to essentially play for the final shot. With the shot clock and game clock running down, Fleeger took a kickout and buried the winning three-pointer with just over a second left for his first points of the game. Following a timeout, the Bison could not get a shot off in losing their third home game this season in the final seconds.
Although Bethany was able to force 19 Wolverines turnovers that led to 20 BC points, Grove City finished the night shooting 62 percent from the floor, including 71 percent (17-24) in the second half.
Leading the Bison offense was McFadden, who matched his career-high with 15 points, while Testa posted his seventh double-double this year with 14 markers and 11 boards. Lyonett rounded out the top scorers with 13 points.
For Grove City, Brett Matson tossed in a game-high 16, while O’Keefe had 15 and Drew Vandermeer tallied 10.
Bethany is scheduled to return to action Wednesday when they host Saint Vincent in a non-conference match-up at 8 p.m.