Dec. 4 – WAYNESBURG, Pa. – Receiving double-digit points from all five starters, the Bethany men’s basketball team (5-0) opened Presidents’ Athletic Conference play with a 68-65 victory over Waynesburg University (4-3) on Wednesday evening.
The Bison controlled the game early, jumping out to an 11-point lead (18-7) over the first 7+ minutes of the opening half. Lawrence Weldon (Baltimore, Md./Poly) sparked the early run, scoring eight of the team’s 18 points, including a layup with 12:42 to play, which put Bethany up by double figures.
Waynesburg would fight back, going on a 12-2 run over the next three minutes to cut the advantage to one point (20-19) on a jumper by Kenny Klase with 9:14 to play. The Yellow Jackets would then take their first lead of the half (25-24) on a three-point shot by Christian Korolly.
Bethany would recapture the lead on back-to-back buckets by Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) and Delonte’ Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis), and would hold the lead until the final seconds of the first half. Up 33-30, the Bison were held scoreless over the final three minutes of the frame and the Yellow Jackets used free throws to take a one point lead (34-33) into the halftime break.
Despite holding the Yellow Jackets to 27 percent shooting in the first half, Bethany turned the ball over 11 times and were outscored 12-3 from the free-throw line.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair that saw four lead changes and four ties. Bethany recaptured the lead (41-40) at the 14:21 mark of the second half on a layup by Weldon.
The teams would exchange baskets over the next five minutes and would find themselves tied for the fifth time (49-49) with 9:06 to play. It was then that the Bison put together an 8-0 run, using baskets by four different players. Weldon notched a pair of free throws which were followed by three-consecutive baskets by Kevin Jackson (Baltimore, Md./Walbrook), Joyce and Addy, which put the Green and White ahead 57-49 with 5:23 to play.
The Yellow Jackets would not go away as Waynesburg would combat the Bison run with a 13-5 spurt of their own to knot the contest at 62-62 with 2:23 to left in the contest.
Bethany took the lead for good on a layup by Weldon with 1:59 to go and extended the lead on a layup by Jackson. After Waynesburg cut the lead to one (66-65), Tyrone Smothers (Baltimore, Md./Mergenthaler) converted on two pressure free throws to give the Bison a 68-65 lead with just seven ticks remaining.
Waynesburg had time for one last play and managed a three-point attempt by Casey Hope. The shot missed the mark, and the Bison would hang on for the three-point victory.
Offensively, all five starters registered double figures, led by 15 each by Jackson and Weldon. Joyce finished with 14 points while Addy and Smothers tallied 11 each. Jackson also registered a double-double in the contest, capturing 11 boards to go along with his 15 points.
Bethany will be back in action on Saturday, Dec. 7 as the Bison return to Hummel Field House for a bout with Grove City College. The contest is scheduled for a 4 p.m. tip.