Feb. 7 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany men’s basketball team (12-10) stayed right with Saint Vincent (18-3) for 34 minutes, but a 14-0 Bearcat run propelled the visitors to a 74-59 victory at Hummel Field House Saturday.
Saint Vincent applied the pressure early to force five BC turnovers in a 16-6 SVC run to open the game. It was a 19-11 Bearcat lead when Bethany freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) swished a three to start a 14-5 Bison run, which was capped by two Beckwith free throws to make it 25-24 BC. A Saint Vincent score on the other end was answered by another trey from Beckwith to give Bethany their largest lead at 28-26.
In transition after the triple, SVC’s Mike Medved broke free for a dunk to even the score and a trifecta from B.J. McGill would give the visitors a 31-30 advantage going into halftime.
Three ties and four lead changes highlighted the opening seven minutes of the second half. Bethany’s final advantage came when senior Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park) hit a foul shot to make it 45-44 BC with 13:11 to go. Saint Vincent answered with a 10-3 run to claim a six-point lead, but that was sliced to just 56-54 following a Bison free throw and a three-point play by junior Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) with 7:21 to go.
The first time these teams played on Jan. 7 in Latrobe, Pa., the game was tied at 54 with 6:54 remaining when Saint Vincent ripped off 13 straight points en route to a 75-59 victory. Unfortunately for the Bison, this one was almost identical. Following Testa’s score, Billy Bains cashed in a three for the Bearcats. That was followed by nine consecutive points from Joey Butler and when Medved’s offensive rebound and putback went through with 3:28 to go, the 14 consecutive points had ballooned the margin to 70-54 and Saint Vincent went on to their sixth consecutive victory.
Bethany’s charges were led by Testa, who scored 18 points and hauled down a career-high 15 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year. Beckwith added 17 for the Bison, who out-rebounded SVC 38-32, but committed 22 turnovers that were converted into 27 Bearcat points.
For Saint Vincent, McGill was 7-for-9 from the floor, including 4-for-5 from the arc, to finish with a game-high 18, while Butler scored all 15 of his points in the second half.
The setback does not affect Bethany’s position in the PAC standings, as the Bearcats are still in transition from NAIA to Division III. The Bison did see Washington & Jefferson tie them for second place in the PAC at 6-3 with the Presidents’ win over Thiel Saturday. BC will try to maintain their spot in the league rankings Wednesday when they travel to Grove City, who lost to first place Thomas More Saturday by a 73-59 count. Tip-off at GCC is set for 8 p.m.