Saints' Rally Falls Short in 58-53 Loss to Bethany in PAC Championship Game
(BETHANY, W.Va.) - The No. 3 seed Thomas More College men's basketball team's rally fell short tonight (Saturday, February 25, 2012) as it fell, 58-53, to No. 1 seed Bethany College in the championship game of the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Championship Tournament at Nutting Gymnasium in Bethany, West Virginia.
With the loss, the Saints end the season at 20-8. With the win, the Bison improve to 25-3 and earn the PAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Bethany jumped out to an early 8-5 lead when Reece Mabery made two free-throws with 16:12 to play in the first half. Thomas More answered with a 7-2 run to take a 12-10 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore point guard Spencer Berlekamp (Cincinnati, Ohio/Kings) with 12:28 to play in the half. The Bison closed out the half on a 20-5 run to take a 30-17 lead at halftime when Leslie Addy made a three-pointer with 59-seconds to play in the half.
Bethany opened the second half on a 9-2 run to extend the lead to 39-19 with 16:32 to play in the game when Mabery made a lay-up. Undaunted, the Saints used a 32-13 run to cut the lead to 52-51 with 38-seconds to play in the game when junior point guard Ryan Hamm (Maysville, Ky./Mason County) made a three-pointer. That would be as close as Thomas More would come as Bethany closed out the game on a 6-2 run for the 58-53 victory.
Two Saints finished in double-figure scoring as senior center Colt Stafford (Groveport, Ohio/Bishop Hartley) scored 15 points and Berlekamp added 11 points. Junior small forward Phil Feinberg (Tempe, Ariz./Corona Del Sol) led the team on the boards with eight rebounds, while senior point guard Daniel Whelan (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) led the team in assists with three.