Andrew Woodley, Sports Information Director
CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. (Dec. 10) – The Bison were handed a 76-72 loss at Thomas More in Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) action Saturday afternoon at the Connor Center.
The Bethany College men's basketball team falls to 5-3 overall, 1-2 in the PAC. Meanwhile, the Saints, the PAC preseason favorite, improves to 3-0 in league play, 5-2 overall.
Four Bison scored in double-figures, led by junior guard Andrew Williams (Oil City, Pa./Oil City) who poured in 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field. Senior guard Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) scored 15 points, junior guard Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) added 12 points, while junior forward Liam Davis (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian) chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
Thomas More raced out to a 19-7 lead over the first seven minutes of the game, prompting a Bethany timeout at the 12:27 mark of the opening half. The Green & White slowly chipped away at the deficit, before a Williams three pointer tied the game at 29-29 with 4:16 until halftime.
The Saints regained a five-point lead with just under two minutes in the half, but free throws and a put-back by freshman Chaice Truex (Wheeling, W.Va./St. John Central) at the buzzer send the game into the locker rooms tied at 38-38.
Neither team established more than a two-possession lead over the first 12 minutes of the second half. Thomas More held a 57-54 lead with 8:05 left in the game, but back-to-back layups by Jones and Truex pushed the Bison ahead 58-57 with 6:49 remaining in the contest.
The Saints responded with a quick 9-2 run over the next three minutes to take a 66-60 lead with under four minutes left in regulation, which would prove to be the difference.
Bethany pulled within one point on three different occasions, notably at 70-69 on a Jones layup with 46 seconds left in the game, but did not pull ahead. A Rudolph three pointer with three seconds to play made the score 74-72, but Thomas More hit both free throws on the other end to seal the game.
Bethany held a 29-25 edge on the glass and a 34-32 advantage in points in the paint. Each team shot a high percentage from the field, with Thomas More finishing 29-for-55 (53 percent) and the Bison shooting 26-for-56 (46 percent) for the game.
There were a total of eight lead changes and two tie scores in the contest.
The Saints were led by Ralph Stone, who scored a team-high 15 points off of the bench.
The Bison have the week off and are back on the court on Monday, December 19 when they host Westminster around 5 p.m. (The game was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m.)