Bethany Men's Hoops Leads Wire-to-Wire Over Thiel
Feb. 23 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College men's basketball team locked down Thiel College, 69-60, as they advanced to the Presidents' Athletic Conference semifinals on Tuesday evening. Bethany held their opponents to 31.8% shooting from the floor in the game.
The Bison were the aggressors early as they took a 10-5 lead with 17:12 remaining. Liam Davis (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christina Prep.) scored four points during the run.
Bethany slowly built up their lead over the next few minutes. Their defensive pressure continued to give the Tomcats trouble as Thiel shot just 9-of-29, including 0-for-7 from distance in the opening half.
The Bison went up 20-11 at the 8:35 mark when Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) took an outlet pass from Alan Harper (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) and threw it down for the one-handed slam. Rudolph collected seven points and three rebounds in the half.
A three from Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) gave the Green & White a double-digit lead (23-13) with 7:20 remaining.
Bethany went up by as many as 15 (30-15) as Rudolph connected from deep at the 3:59 mark.
The Tomcats cut the Bison lead to 11 before Chris Harris split a pair from the foul line with 16 seconds remaining. Thiel responded with a bank shot at the buzzer to make it 32-21 at the intermission.
The second half started with both teams trading baskets early. Once again, it was Davis providing the offensive boost with four quick second-half points. The sophomore center finished with 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
Javonte Trujillo (Aurora, Colo./Grandview) gave the Bison a 43-29 advantage as he came up with a block on the defensive end before knocking down a corner three at the 16:09 mark.
Bethany continued to control the tempo, leading 52-37 with 11:50 left, before Thiel went on their first big run of the half. The Tomcats cut the lead to single digits (56-47) after a 9-4 run with 7:29 remaining.
Zach Nahra (Mayfield Heights, Ohio/Mayfield) ended the Tomcat run with a short jumper in the lane to make it 58-47. Bruster then came down with an offensive rebound that led to a Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) layup.
The Bison held on to a double-digit lead until the 3:34 mark of the second half as Thiel started putting the pressure on late. The Tomcats cut the lead to six (60-54) with 2:57 to go.
Davis gave Bethany some extra cushion (62-54) with an offensive rebound and a putback with 1:15 left.
Bethany then forced another Tomcat turnover and Rudolph calmly sank a pair from the charity stripe to make it 64-54.
Rudolph, Jones, and Andrew Williams (Oil City, Pa./Oil City) combined to go 5-of-6 from the line in the closing seconds to preserve the 69-60 victory. The Bison finished 18-of-28 from the free-throw line.
Offensively, four Bison finished in double figures. Williams led with 14, Rudolph totaled 11, Davis had 12, and Jones added 10. Rudolph also paced the Green & White offense with four assists.
Along with Davis' 15 rebounds, Trujillo collected 11 boards as the Bison outrebounded the Tomcats 57-47 during the game.
Defensively, Trujillo, Rudolph, and Bruster all recorded two steals. Jerron Athey added a swipe of his own as he played tough on-the-ball defense throughout the contest.
Bethany men's hoops will return to the hardwood on Thursday, February 25 as they host Thomas More at the Hummel Field House in the PAC Semifinals. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. tip.