Andrew Woodley, Sports Information Director
BETHANY, W.Va. (Jan. 7) – The Bison held off Thiel 73-70 in a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) game Saturday evening.
The Bethany College men's basketball team improves to 8-5 overall, 3-3 in league play. Meanwhile, the Tomcats, off to their best start since 2011, fall to 3-3 in the PAC, 7-4 overall this season.
Senior forward Javonte Trujillo (Aurora, Colo./Grandview) and freshman forward Chaice Truex (Wheeling, W.Va./St. John Central) each finished with 11 points, with Truex adding a team-best nine rebounds to help the Bison earn the win. Junior guard Jerron Athey (Richmond, Va./Banner Christian) added 10 points, including 8-for-10 from the free-throw line, with four rebounds in the game.
Neither team could shake loose in the first nine minutes. The game was tied at 12-12 with 11:04 left in the opening half, before a 13-4 run by the Tomcats gave the visitors a 25-17 lead with just over four minutes on the clock.
Bethany responded with a spurt of its own, out-scoring Thiel 10-4 down the stretch of the first half to send trim the Tomcat lead to two, 29-27, heading into halftime.
The score was tied five times over the first four minutes of the second half, leading to a 37-37 score with 16:09 left in the game. Bethany went on to build its largest lead of the contest over the next five minutes. The Bison moved out to a 55-44 lead with 11:29 remaining in regulation.
Thiel battled back, getting within three points at 57-54 with 6:45 on the clock, but the Bison maintained the upper hand. The Green and White built its lead back to seven, 70-63, on a Chaice Truex layup with 56 seconds left that appeared to put the game out of reach.
The Tomcats scored the game's next four points and, following a split at the line by junior guard Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy), pulled within one point at 71-70 on a fade-away three by guard Tyreik Burton with 10 seconds left in the game.
After Truex made each of his attempts at the line on the other end to push the lead back to three, Thiel was put on the free-throw line with three seconds on the clock. The Tomcats missed the front end and could not secure a rebound after an intentional miss on the second shot, securing the win for the Bison.
Bethany held the edge at the free-throw line in the victory. The Bison shot 24-for-32 (75 percent), compared to the 20-for-34 (59 percent) posted by Thiel.
The Bison were able to keep the PAC's leading scorer, Tyreik Burton in check. Burton, who entered averaging 18.5 ppg., was held to 14 points on 4-for-20 shooting, including 1-for-10 from long range.
The Bison will hit the road next week for a pair of road games, starting on Wednesday January, 11 when they cross the Pennsylvania border to take on Washington & Jefferson around 8 p.m.