Men's Basketball Outlasts Chatham 74-70
Feb. 6 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bison men's basketball team moved into sole possession of second place in the Presidents' Athletic Conference standings, winning their seventh game in nine tries as they defeated Chatham University, 74-70, on Saturday afternoon. The win improved the Bison's record to 10-4 in the PAC, as well as a season-best seven games over .500.
The Green & White were dominant early, running out to a 15-5 lead over the first seven minutes of the game. Six separate players accounted for the first 15 Bethany points, including back-to-back threes by Javonte' Trujillo (Aurora, Colo./Grandview) and Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic), giving the Bison a ten-point cushion with 13:22 to play in the half.
The Cougars would hang around in the opening stanza, with the lead fluctuating between five and 11 points over the next eight minutes. A Josh Randall layup with 5:46 to play, had the visitors within striking distance, down five (28-23).
From there, however, the Bison would close the half strong, outscoring Chatham 14-4 to push the advantage to the largest of the half. Two, three-point baskets by sophomore Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) provided the spark in the run. The second three came with 1:09 to play in the half, giving Bethany a 42-27 lead, which is where the score would settle at the break.
In the start of the second half, the Green & White would once again surge ahead, outscoring Chatham 15-2 to push the advantage to a game-high 28 points (57-29), with 13:15 remaining in the game. Jones once again got the run going, sinking his third-straight triple. Trujillo also added a pair of long-distance connections in the run, which was capped on a fast-break score from Zach Nahra (Mayfield Heights, Ohio/Mayfield).
Combined between the first and second halves, the Bison outscored the Cougars by a total of 29-6 in a span of just over 13 minutes to turn a five-point lead into a 28-point advantage.
Chatham would respond in a big way over the next ten minutes of the game, holding the Bison to just nine points in the middle stages of the closing stanza. In all, the Cougars put together a 35-9 run, cutting the Bethany lead to just two (66-64) with 2:46 to go.
Late game free-throw shooting proved to be the difference, as the Green & White converted on eight-of-eight attempts from the charity stripe, keeping the Cougars at bay in the late stages to walk away with the four-point win, 74-70.
Offensively, the Bison were led in the win by Jones' career-high 20 points. The sophomore finished 6-of-11 from the field including 3-of-5 from long range. He also converted on 5-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Other offensive leaders for the Green & White included Trujillo and Andrew Williams (Oil City, Pa./Oil City) who each finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Despite scoring just five points, Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) still made an impact on the game, notching eight boards and seven assists.
Bethany will be back in action on Wednesday, February 10 when they travel to New Wilmington, Pa. to take on the Titans of Westminster College. Tip is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start.