Jan. 22 – CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – In an overtime contest that yielded 15 ties and 12 lead changes, the Bethany men’s basketball team (13-4, 6-2 PAC) dropped a 82-74 decision to Thomas More College on Wednesday evening.
The first half saw a great battle between the two sides, as there were 10 ties and seven lead changes over the first 20 minutes. Bethany saw its largest lead of the first half, as they took a four-point advantage (13-9) on a Tyrone Smothers (Baltimore, Md./Mergenthaler) three pointer with 12:32 to play.
Thomas More would keep things close and, after three ties, would capture their largest lead of the half, expanding the Saint advantage to five points (31-26) on a three by D’Carlo Hayes with 4:24 to play in the frame.
With the Saints up four points (33-29) with 3:21 remaining, the Bison would embark on a 9-2 run, getting every point from the charity stripe. The last four were made by Delonte’ Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) over the last 44 seconds to give Bethany a 38-35 lead heading into the halftime break.
The second half started much like the first, with the first three and a half minutes seeing the 11th and 12th ties of the game. The latter saw a Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) layup notch the game at 45-45 with 16:29 to play.
Following the tie, Thomas More went on a 6-2 run, getting two consecutive three-point baskets by Hayes, to run the score to 51-47 in favor of the Saints. It was there, however, that the Bison would make their biggest push of the game.
Over the next seven minutes, the Bison would embark on an 18-6 run. The run was started by a Smothers three, which cut the Saint advantage to one (51-50) with 14:18 to play. Lawrence Weldon (Baltimore, Md./Poly) would notch an “old fashion” three-point play to give Bethany a two-point advantage (53-51). That was then followed by a three from Addy, which extended the lead to 56-51 with 12:49 remaining.
The Saints would cut the Bison advantage back to three points (60-57) on a layup by Jalen Clark with 9:38 to play. However, Smothers’ second three pointer of the run would extend the advantage to 63-57. The run would then be capped by a Joyce layup with 7:49 to play, which gave Bethany its largest lead of the night at eight points (65-57).
The advantage would not last long for the Bison, as Thomas More immediately responded with a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to take a 66-65 lead with 5:19 left in regulation.
The game would be knotted two more times before an Eliot Pipes jumper gave the Saints a two-point advantage (70-68) with 1:17 to play.
With just four seconds remaining, the Bison were looking to either tie or take the lead with their last possession. A Thomas More foul sent Weldon to the line, where he calmly knocked down both free throws to tie the game for the 15th time (70-70), and send the contest into overtime.
In the overtime frame, the ball would not bounce the Bison’s way, as Thomas More used an 8-0 run to take a 78-70 advantage with just 1:14 to play. Bethany would find itself outscored 12-4 in the overtime stanza, and would fall 82-74.
Offensively, the Bison saw all five starters notch double figures for the eighth time this season. Addy led the way with 16 points, while Joyce added 15. Smothers and Kevin Jackson (Baltimore, Md./Walbrook) each notched 13, while Weldon finished with 12.
The big disparity was in bench production, as the Bison reserves were outscored by the Thomas More bench, 36-5. Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) notched all five of the Bison tallies off the bench.
The contest was well played all around, as the teams combined to shoot 45 percent and 11 different players notched double figures in the game.
The Bison will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 25, when they return to the Hummel Field House for a bout with Waynesburg University. The contest is scheduled for a 4 p.m. tip.