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PAC POSITIONING ON THE LINE WHEN BETHANY HOSTS WESTMINSTER
Feb. 17 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany men’s basketball team will host Westminster Wednesday night in their final regular season home game, with the winner to stay in the race for the #2 seed in next week’s PAC Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The Bison (13-10, 7-3) have been off for a week since posting a 71-64 victory at Grove City last Wednesday, which put them in second place in the league and clinched a home game in the PAC Tournament Quarterfinals next Tuesday. BC trailed by a point at halftime, but swished six three-pointers and went a perfect 16-for-16 from the foul line in the second half to rally for the win. Freshman Lance Beckwith (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God Christian Academy) had 18 points and sophomore Ryan McFadden (Columbus, Ohio/Mount Vernon Academy) recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Bethany’s quantity of three-pointers and quality free throw shooting were keys to their 13th win in the last 14 meetings with Grove City. The Green and White cashed in 12 triples against the Wolverines, their most since hitting 14 in the Nov. 29 rout of Penn State-Fayette. At the charity stripe, BC shot 95 percent (19-20), which was tied for the second-best percentage in a game in school history. The only time a Bison team was more accurate from the foul line was on Jan. 28, 1989, when they sank 20-of-21 attempts (95.2 percent) against Grove City.
With the PAC Tournament looming next week, the second, third and fourth seeds are all up for grabs between Bethany, Washington & Jefferson and Westminster. Thomas More is locked in at the top spot and will have home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Grove City (fifth), Waynesburg (sixth) and Thiel (seventh) also know where they’ll be seeded. A Bison win over Westminster would ensure at least the #3 seed for BC and send them into Saturday’s regular season finale at W&J with a chance to earn the second spot.
If Westminster (8-15, 7-4) can come out of Hummel Field House with a win, they would secure the third seed. The Titans have posted back-to-back wins to put themselves in the top half of the PAC race, including a 74-60 victory at Thiel Saturday. Rob Briggs posted 14 points and seven rebounds, while David Richards finished with 14 points and four assists for Westminster, who rifled in 11 three-pointers and limited the Tomcats to 37 percent shooting.
Although he’s come off the bench in the last two wins, Ryne Murray is a top contender for PAC Player of the Year honors. He is averaging a double-double with 19.1 points (second in the league) and 10.1 rebounds (first), while ranking third in the circuit in steals (2.3). Also averaging in double figures is Bobby Glass with 11.3 points per game and Steve Bielich with 10.5, while Briggs is averaging 8.2 points and 7.0 boards per contest.
One of Murray’s top efforts this season came in the first meeting between the clubs Jan. 17. Bethany led 70-53 midway through the second half, but the Titan forward carried his team back into the game, scoring their final nine points and 11 of their last 13 to lead Westminster to an improbable 80-78 come-from-behind win. Murray finished with 29 points and 14 rebounds, as he out-dueled Bethany’s Petre Petkovski (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park), who totaled a career-high 27 points and 10 boards.