Steve Janik, Assistant Sports Information Director
LATROBE, Pa. (Feb. 23) - The Bethany College men's basketball team was defeated 74-65 by Saint Vincent in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Tournament Semifinals Thursday evening.
Bethany finishes with an overall record of 15-12 while Saint Vincent improves to 22-6 overall and they will host Thomas More in the PAC Championship game on Saturday evening.
Junior guard Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) led the Bison with 15 points and eight rebounds, while freshman forward Chaice Truex (Wheeling, W.Va./St. John Central (Ohio)) added 14 points and seven boards.
Senior guard Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) contributed 12 points and eight rebounds and finished his Bison career with 822 points, 509 rebounds, 285 assists, and 156 steals. His 285 career assists rank him tied for fifth in Bethany College history. In his senior season, he averaged 12.3 points per game, and ranked second in the PAC with 2.0 steals per game (54 total).
Senior forward Javonte' Trujillo (Aurora, Colo./Grandview) finished the game with five points and five boards. For his career, he has accumulated 402 points and 292 rebounds.
The Bearcats jumped out to an early 8-5 lead, before Bethany scored nine-unanswered to give them a 14-8 lead with 11:15 to play in the first quarter.
The top-seeded Bearcats fought back to regain the one point lead at 15-14 but Bethany hit key baskets to take back their lead and hold it the rest of the half. With 2:58 left in the opening half, junior forward Chris Harris (Brecksville, Ohio/Broadview Heights) hit a pair of foul shots to take another six-point lead at 28-22.
The Bison strided into the half with a 34-28 lead when Jones hit three foul shots after being clipped on a three-point attempt before the buzzer.
Bethany maintained a lead of at least five points through the first three minutes of the second half. With the Bison leading 42-39, Saint Vincent scored 13-striaght points over a five-minute stretch to take a 52-42 lead and change the pace of the game.
The Green and White found themselves back within eight after a Truex layup at 6:41 mark; however, the hosts held at least a seven-point advantage the rest of the way.
The Bison shot 38 percent (21-for-56) for the game. Bethany was 10-for-21 (47 percent) in the first half, but only 11-for-35 (31 percent). Saint Vincent, who shot 46 percent (25-for-54) from the field for the game, converted 14-for-22 (64 percent) in the second half, after shooting only 11-for-32 (34 percent) in the opening frame.
Saint Vincent's Austin Ford led all scorers with 21 points to propel the Bearcats into the title match.
Bethany is eligible for the Eastern Conference Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships and will await word from its selection committee if the Bison season will include a postseason berth.