Jan. 3 - GREENVILLE, Pa. – The Bethany College men’s basketball team led by as many as 17 in the first half, but Thiel rallied and used a jumper by Chace McKinney with two seconds to play to pull out a 60-58 victory in an early-season match-up of two of the top teams in the PAC.
The defeat snapped the Bison’s six-game winning streak and dropped their records to 8-4 overall and 2-1 in the PAC. The Tomcats took over sole possession of first place in the conference by improving to 7-4 and 3-0.
Bethany roared out the gates with a 15-2 spurt, highlighted by seven points from junior British Alexander (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood Madison). The cushion grew to as large as 17 when Alexander cashed in a jumper with 3:57 left in the period to make it 34-17. However, Thiel jumped back into the contest with the final nine points of the half, which featured a pair of treys by Anthony Harvey, to trim the BC advantage to 34-26 at the intermission.
A three-point play by senior Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) four minutes into the second stanza put Bethany on top by a 41-32 score. The Tomcats responded with a 14-3 run to take a 46-44 lead at the midway point of the half and the contest would see nine lead changes and five ties over the final 10 minutes.
Bethany took their final lead of the game on a three-pointer by sophomore James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.), but two foul shots from Thiel’s Devon Adams tied the score at 58 with two minutes remaining. The next basket would be the game-winner, as McKinney sank a jumper with the shot clock expiring with two seconds to go. The Bison were unable to get a final shot up, as a turnover gave the host Tomcats the narrow victory.
The loss overshadowed a stellar effort from Alexander, who posted his first double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds while adding five blocked shots. Barton sank a trio of three-pointers to also tally 13, while sophomore Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) recorded 11 markers, six steals and five rebounds.
Leading the Tomcats in the victory was Blair Rozenblad with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bison are back in action Thursday when they host the defending PAC champion Grove City at 8 p.m.