Bison Look to Build On Last Season’s Success
GREENVILLE, Pa. –The Bethany College men’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Saint Vincent was tabbed as the preseason favorite after reaching the PAC Tournament Championship Game last season. Defending conference champion Thomas More was picked second, while Westminster and Thiel rounded out the top four.
The Bison are coming off of a season in which the team went 17-13, including a 9-9 record against league foes. Bethany reached the semifinals in both the PAC and the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournaments and return four of the team’s top-five scorers from a year ago.
Bethany third-year coach Nick Hager, who has posted back-to-back 17-win seasons, will field his first squad without two-time first-team All-PAC guard Antonio Rudolph, but returns another two-time all-conference guard in senior Calique Jones. Jones started all 30 games last season and ranked sixth in the PAC with 14.8 points per game. He also averaged career highs last year with 2.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
Hager will also return his second-leading scorer in senior guard Andrew Williams. Williams finished 13th in the league with 12.8 points per game and wrapped up the season with an impressive stretch in the ECAC Division III Tournament. Williams fueled the team’s run to the semifinals by averaging 21.3 points in three games, including a season-high 25 in a win over top-seed Moravian, and was named to the all-tournament team.
Bethany’s front-court returns a pair of regular contributors in senior center Liam Davis and sophomore forward Chaice Truex, a former St. John Central standout. Davis led the team and ranked ninth in the PAC with 6.3 rebounds per game and slotted fifth in the league with 1.8 blocked shots per game. Truex, who was named the PAC Rookie of the Week four times, was the first man off of the bench in all 30 games last season and ranked 21st in the conference with 11.5 points per game.
School (first-place votes) Points 2016-17 Record (PAC)
1. Saint Vincent (4) 92 21-7 (15-3)
2. Thomas More (5) 90 22-7 (15-3)
3. Westminster (1) 76 17-12 (11-7)
4. Thiel 74 16-9 (11-7)
5. Bethany 63 17-13 (9-9)
6. Grove City 44 12-14 (8-10)
7. Chatham 35 10-16 (6-12)
8. Geneva 33 10-16 (7-11)
9. Waynesburg 28 6-19 (4-14)
10. W&J 15 4-21 (4-14)