Feb. 3 - GREENVILLE, Pa. – Senior forward Joe Testa (Amity, Pa./Trinity) scored a career-high 35 and grabbed 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to keep Thiel from pulling out an 86-84 victory over the Bethany men’s basketball team Wednesday night.
A Testa foul shot with 1:41 to play put the Bison (14-6, 6-3) in front 83-80, but the Tomcats (11-9, 4-4) came back on the other end with a three-point play by Sean Devinney to even the score. A TC steal on the next possession led to another Devinney lay-up to give the home team an 85-83 margin with 47 seconds left. Each team would add on a free throw and the Bison had the ball for a final attempt to tie or win.
After they missed a three and a tip-in, senior Jonas Ankrom (Canonsburg, Pa./Canon-McMillan) was fouled with 1.2 seconds to play. However, he missed the first shot and BC couldn’t get the rebound off the intentional miss on the second, allowing Thiel to run out the clock and snap Bethany’s five-game winning streak.
In the first half, a Testa score put Bethany in front 28-26 with 7:17 left in the half, but Thiel closed the period with a 16-5 spurt to take a 42-33 halftime lead. The Tomcats scored the first five points of the second half to extend their margin to a game-high 14 before the Green and White started chipping away. A 9-2 Bison run a couple minutes later brought them right back into the contest, which featured seven ties and 12 lead changes in the final nine minutes.
Testa posted a monster effort to keep the Bison in the game, as he scored 35 points, the most by a Bison since current assistant coach Matt Drahos tallied 38 in a win at Washington & Jefferson in Feb. 2006. Testa’s 10 boards also give him six double-doubles on the year. He was joined in double figures by freshman Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) with 11 and junior Dustin Opalka (Cortland, Ohio/Lakeview) and James Barton (Bethel Park, Pa.) with 10 each.
For the Tomcats, who shot 58 percent (32-55) from the floor in the game, Blair Rozenblad notched 23 points and eight rebounds, Devon Adams finished with 19 markers and nine assists and Devinney poured in 15 of his 17 after halftime.
With the loss, Bethany dropped into third place in the conference behind Grove City (7-2) and Thomas More (6-2). The Bison will get their shot at the first place Wolverines Saturday when GCC comes to Hummel Field House for a 4 p.m. tip-off.