Bethany Men Cruise to Non-Conference Triumph
BETHANY – In a final tuneup before beginning defense of its President’s Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship, Bethany buried visiting Penn State Fayette under a barrage of 3-point shots Saturday afternoon at Hummel Field House.
Coach Andrew Sachs’ Bison drained 15 of 31 3-point attempts, including five straight in the early going while coasting past the Roaring Lions 109-70 for their third victory in four games.
Six different Bethany players connected for at least two triples, led by Brady Pacific’s 4 of 6 from behind the arc and James Barton, 3 of 6 bonus shots. Including 2-point attempts, the hosts were just under 50 percent for the game (39 of 80).
Five Bison reached double figures, led by Barton’s 18 points and 16 from Nick Wilcox, whose only miss in eight shots was from behind 3-point line. Reece Mabery collected 13 points, while Pacific came off the bench to contribute 12 tallies and Leslie Addy hit for 11 points.
”We have very capable 3-point shooters but I think our success was more about shot selection,” Sachs said. ”We got a lot of inside-outs and several transition 3s.
”Realistically, we should win a game like this,” Sachs continued. ”What we are trying to do is get better before starting conference play against Waynesburg on Wednesday. After Waynesburg, we have Grove City, Geneva and Thiel before we go back outside the conference. At the end of the day you’ve got to win the conference and that is our plan.”
Bethany’s only loss so far was an 80-75 road defeat to Ohio Athletic Conference perennial title contender Baldwin-Wallace. The Bison got back on track by winning another tough game away from the friendly confines last Tuesday night when they defeated Muskingum, 97-87.
While defense had been a problem in their first three games, the Bison were able to force Penn State Fayette (1-4) into 31 turnovers, including 15 in the first half while building a 57-30 lead. Bethany also came up with 21 steals overall, including five by Wilcox and four each from Mabery and Addy.
”That is what we do,” Sachs pointed out. ”We try to get deflections and steals. I thought we did a pretty good job today but our defensive field goal percentage is not where it needs to be.”
Bethany had a problem stopping the Roaring Lions’ 6-5 senior forward David Winns, a 17-point average scorer who was 10 of 14 from the floor on the way to firing in 24 points.
Winns was one of three Fayette players in double figures, as Derek Jones finished with 12 points and Brandon Cunningham had 11.
”He (Winns) is a good player but he got a lot of transition points in the first half because we did not drop back quick enough,” Sachs said. ”Our freshman post player (Nate Weldon) has been in foul trouble two straight games but as long as he keeps improving inside and we get better shots like we did today, we will be fine,” he added.
Bethany never trailed, going up 4-0 two minutes into the game when Barton, drawing a foul going up for a shot, buried both free throws and cashed a runner on the next possession.
Cunningham’s two free throws got the Roaring Lions on the board for the first time but the visitors didn’t have much to roar about the rest of the game. Bethany’s next five field goals were triples two by Mabery and one each byBarton, Pacific and Addy put the hosts ahead 19-6.
Leading by 27 at half, the Bison stretched it out to 101-61, going over the century mark on David Butcher’s two free throws with 4:07 remaining. The biggest lead was 43 minutes at 109-66 before Fayette scored the final four points.