Andrew Woodley, Sports Information Director
BETHANY, W.Va. (Feb. 3) - The Bison needed overtime to defeat Thiel College 80-77 in a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) game Saturday evening at the Hummel Field House.
The win improves the Bethany College men's basketball team to 11-3 in the PAC, 11-10 overall, and moves the squad into a tie for second-place in the league standings following Saint Vincent's loss. Meanwhile, the Tomcats fall to 6-13 overall, 4-10 in conference play.
Senior center Liam Davis (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian Prep) recorded a double-double with a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds. Davis ended the night 10-of-19 (53 percent) from the field and collected seven offensive boards. Senior guard Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) finished with 19 points, senior guard Andrew Williams (Oil City, Pa./Oil City) added nine points and eight rebounds, while sophomore forward Chaice Truex (Wheeling, W.Va./St. John's Central) chipped in eight points and eight rebounds.
Bethany led for the majority of the first six minutes of the contest, but never by more than four points, until a basket-and-one by Jones gave the Bison an 18-13 advantage with 13:22 to play in the first half. Thiel tied the game twice over the ensuing 10 minutes and finally established a lead at 31-28 on a three-point shot with 3:17 remaining until halftime. Jones promptly answered with a trey of his own to help the Bison close the half with an 8-2 spurt and a 36-33 lead entering the locker rooms.
The Green & White kept things rolling to open the second half and eventually established its biggest lead of the night when Truex knocked down a three pointer to make the score 56-43 with 13:37 remaining in the second half. The Bison went cold offensively and did not score another point over the next eight minutes. The Tomcats took advantage and scored 14-straight points to take a 57-56 lead with 5:51 left on the clock, before a layup by senior forward Nick Metz (Pittsburgh, Pa./OLSH) ended the drought at the 5:05-mark.
The Tomcats regained the lead with four minutes remaining in the second half and continued to lead by one possession down the stretch. The Bison had a chance to reclaim the lead with 40 seconds left in regulation, but a missed shot turned into a transition dunk for Thiel and a 65-62 lead with 28 seconds to play in the second half.
Senior guard Jerron Athey (Richmond, Va./Banner Christian) calmly drained two free throws on the other end to pull the Bison within one-point with 22 seconds to play, before the Bison fouled to send Thiel to the line. The Tomcats missed the front-end of a one-and-one, allowing Bethany to setup a potential game-winning play with 15 seconds left in regulation. Williams drove the lane as the clock winded down and drew a foul call with 0.9 seconds on the clock. The senior guard managed to tie the game at 65-65, but, following a timeout, rimmed the second shot out. Davis nearly won the game with a tip-in on the miss, but it also barely rimmed out, sending the game into overtime.
Bethany knocked down each of its first four shots in overtime, including a basket-and-one by Davis, to take a 74-69 lead two minutes into the extra session. After Thiel answered with four-straight points to draw within one with 2:18 to play, the Bison managed to hold the Tomcats scoreless on their next two possessions and rebuild their lead back to four at 78-73 with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
Thiel got a quick basket with 14 seconds left on the clock and reclaimed possession after the Bison missed two free throws on its end of the court. With the score 78-75, the Tomcats were in position to tie the game up, but an errant pass went out-of-bounds and gave Bethany the ball with six seconds to play. Williams knocked down two shots at the charity stripe to ice the game for the Bison, before a cosmetic layup was scored by Thiel at the horn.
Bethany finished the game 27-of-66 (41 percent) from the field, compared to the 32-of-66 (49 percent) posted by the Tomcats. The difference in the game came at the free-throw line, where the Bison finished 22-of-33 (67 percent) and Thiel was only 11-of-19 (58 percent) in its attempts.
Thiel had six players finish in double-figures, led by Tyreik Burton and Avril Campbell who each had 13 points in the loss.
Bethany has one of its biggest games of the season on Wednesday, February 7 when it travels to Latrobe, Pennsylvania to take on Saint Vincent (14-7, 11-3 PAC) at 5:30 p.m.