Andrew Woodley, Bethany Sports Information Director
CRESSON, Pa. (Nov. 19) – The Bison picked up a 75-68 win over Juniata to win the Mount Aloysius Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Final Saturday afternoon in non-conference play.
The Bethany College men's basketball team improves to 2-0 overall, while Juniata, who was picked fourth in the Landmark Conference Preseason Poll (including two first-place votes), falls to 1-1 this season.
Junior guard Andrew Williams (Oil City, Pa./Oil City) led a quartet of Bison in double-figures with a team-best 20 points, including 3-for-4 from long range. Freshman forward Chaice Truex (Wheeling, W.Va./Bishop Donahue) added 14 points and six boards off of the bench, while junior guard Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) and senior guard Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
For his efforts, Williams was named the Mount Aloysius Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Most Valuable Player.
Bethany defensively was stout early in the game. The Bison jumped out to a 21-8 lead at the 9:27 mark of the first half, prompting a timeout from the Eagles.
Juniata chipped away at the Bethany lead over the final nine minutes of the first half, drawing within two at 31-29 on a pair of free throws with 56 seconds until halftime. Truex gave the Bison a cushion heading into the locker rooms with a three pointer that gave Bethany a 34-29 at the break.
The Eagles came within one possession multiple times early in the second half, but the Bison never relinquished the lead. Bethany led 42-40 six minutes into the second frame, before it went on a 13-3 run over the next five minutes to take a 53-43 lead with 9:43 remaining in the game.
Juniata came back within four at 55-51, but a layup by Williams and a basket-and-one by junior guard Jerron Athey (Richmond, Va./Banner Christian) pushed the Bison lead back to nine, 60-51, with 7:31 left in the game.
The Eagles made one last push, rallying back to within one possession at 68-66 with two minutes remaining in regulation. Williams responded on the next possession by draining a three pointer with a defender in his face to extend the Bison lead back to five. Bethany put in four free throws in the final minute put the game away for the Green & White.
Bethany was efficient at the charity stripe. The Bison converted 14-of-15 attempts (93 percent) from the free-throw line, compared to the 14-of-18 (78 percent) posted by Juniata.
The Green & White held a 22-0 advantage in bench points in the game and only committed seven turnovers.
Juniata was led by Damon RIckens, who tallied game-highs of 22 points and nine rebounds.
The Bison head back to West Virginia for their home-opener when they host Carnegie Mellon on Tuesday, November 22 at 7 p.m.