Andrew Woodley, Sports Information Director
CRESSON, Pa. (Nov. 18) – Led by a trio of double-digit scorers, the Bison held off Mount Aloysius 93-88 to advance to the final of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Friday evening.
The Bethany College men's basketball team opens the season at 1-0 and will face Juniata in the final at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, November 19. Meanwhile, the Mounties fall to 0-2 overall and will face Penn State Altoona in a consolation game.
Junior guard Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) led the Bison and nearly matched his career-high with 22 points on 7-of-14 from the field. Junior guard Andrew Williams (Oil City, Pa./Oil City) tallied 20 points, while freshman Chaice Truex (Wheeling, W.Va./Bishop Donahue) finished with 17 points while making his Bison debut.
Neither team created separation in the first 10 minutes, which included numerous tie scores and lead changes. With the game tied at 20, Williams drained a three pointer that kicked off a quick 15-5 spurt which gave the Bison a 35-25 lead with 6:19 remaining in the first half.
Mount Aloysius sliced the Bethany lead to three, 46-43, with 1:53 until halftime, however the Bison managed to extend their lead back to five at 50-45 heading into the locker rooms.
The Mounties battled back to a tie score at 52-52 less than two minutes into the second half, but the Green & White followed with its strongest stretch of the game. The Bison rolled off 15-unanswered points, capped off by a Jones layup to take a 67-52 lead with 15:01 remaining in the game, forcing a 30-second timeout by Mount Aloysius.
Bethany ran into a cold spell. The Bison converted only one of its next eight attempts and allowed the Mounties to creep back into the contest. With 3:30 left in the game, Mount Aloysius completed the comeback and tied the game at 84-84.
Free throws by senior guard Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) and Truex gave the Green & White an 87-86 lead with 2:20 on the clock. After each team exchanged possessions, Mountie guard Tre Brown drove to the rim and missed a running layup that would have given the hosts their first-lead of the second half. Instead, Brown was charged with a technical foul, allowing the Bison to push its lead to 89-86 and maintain possession of the ball. Bethany broke Mount Aloysius' full court press and Jones put the finishing touches on the win with a wide-open layup and a pair of free throws to end the game.
Bethany converted 19-of-25 attempts (76 percent) from the free-throw line, compared to the 9-of-19 (47 percent).
Junior center Liam Davis (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian) led the team on the glass with 11 rebounds.
The Bison will take on Juniata tomorrow, Saturday November 19, where second-year Head Coach Nick Hager will face off with his former team. Hager was an assistant at Juniata for five seasons from 2010-15. Tip is set for 3 p.m.