The Bethany College men's basketball team lost for the first time at home this season, as BC shot just 28 percent from the field in suffering a 63-51 defeat to visiting Thomas More Wednesday night in a battle between two of the top three teams in the conference.
Bethany's offense looked primed for another big night early on, as senior James Barton scored the game's first six points and later cashed in a three to lift the Bison to their largest lead of the night at 13-5 with 11:46 to go in the first half. But then the Green and White would go nearly eight minutes without a bucket, as Thomas More scored 10 straight to ignite a 23-3 burst that lifted the visitors to a 12-point lead.
The Bison finally started to come out of their cold spell late in the half with the final five points to trim the deficit to 28-21 by the intermission. Bethany made just 6-of-24 attempts from the floor in the opening stanza and committed 11 turnovers.
Bethany was looking for a spark to open the second half and a hoop from Wilcox and three points by junior Lawrence Weldon had BC within five points at 31-26. But Thomas More answered back with a 12-4 run to take their lead to 43-30 and the Bison were never closer than 11 points the rest of the way. The 51 points scored by the Bison in the loss was their fewest since tallying just 48 in a loss at John Carroll in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Two Bethany players did manage to put up double figures, as Barton's hot start helped him score 12 in the contest and senior Brady Pacific netted 10.
The balanced Thomas More attack also had just two in double digits, as Spencer Berlekamp finished with a game-high 14 and D'Carlo Hayes hit for 10.
The Bison will begin the second half of PAC play with two straight road games, starting Saturday with a trip to Waynesburg for a 3:30 p.m. tip-off.