Nov. 15 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College men's basketball team got off to a good start to their season as they defeated Frostburg State, 76-70, in a hard-fought overtime contest on Saturday evening in Bethany.
Last year's leading scorer, senior Delonte' Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) score the first points of the season for the Bison, draining his first shot of the year, a three from the corner, to give Bethany the early 3-0 lead. The Bison would then run the advantage out to 6-0 on a layup by senior Jeff Joynes (Baltimore, Md./Poly) and a free-throw by Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic).
Frostburg State would mount the comeback, however, pulling the game to 8-8 on a layup by Nick Smoot with 14:33 to play in the first half. The game would be tied five more times over the span of the opening half, with the last tie coming at the 7:17 mark. Joyce notched a layup after an offensive rebound to knot the game at 25-25.
With the Bison leading the Bobcats 29-28 with 5:51 to play in the opening frame, the Green & White would go on a 10-4 run to close out the half. Four different Bison would contribute to the run, which started off on back-to-back layups by freshman Andres Herrero (Guadalajera, Spain/Torrejon). Bruster, freshman Hayden Cunningham (East Liverpool, Ohio/East Liverpool) and Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) would all add to the run, and the Bison would go into the locker room leading 39-32.
Bethany held the advantage on the scoreboard, thanks in large part to their large advantage on the boards in the half. The Bison outrebounded Frostburg State 29-17 in the frame, which included 12 offensive rebounds.
In the second half, the Bison would lead by as many as ten (44-34) on a three-point shot by Joynes with 17:49 to play. With Bethany still up nine (53-44) with 12:13 to play, the Bobcats would embark on a 10-2 run, cutting the Bison lead to just one point (55-54) on a layup by Smoot. Frostburg would then take the lead on a three by Shawn Henson, giving the Bobcats the 59-56 advantage with 7:15 to play.
With the Green & White still down five (63-58) at the 4:32 mark, the Bison would turn the tide, going on a 7-0 to take a two-point advantage. After two made free throws by Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle), Alan Harper (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) put together a personal five-point run, including a three-point basket with 2:45 remaining in the game which put the Bison ahead 65-63.
Frostburg State would then receive back-to-back buckets by Smoot to give the Bobcats a two-point lead (67-65) with just under one minute to play. After the Bison tied the game for the ninth time (67-67) on a layup by Bruster, each team had a shot to end the ball game. Smoot missed a three with 10 seconds to play to give the ball to the Bison. Then Joyce misfired on a layup as time expired to send the game into overtime.
The Bison never trailed in the overtime frame as Joynes gave the Green & White the lead on the first shot of overtime. Frostburg would cut the lead as close as one (71-70), but five free throws down the stretch, including two by Joynes and four by Joyce sealed the 76-70 victory for Bethany. The Bison played lock defense over the last 2:30 of the game, not allowing a single point by the Bobcats, as they beat Frostburg State to open the season for the second year in a row.
In the win, Joyce picked up where he left off from a year ago, posting his first double-double of the season. The senior guard paced the Bison with 28 points and 13 rebounds. He also added three steals.
Other leading scorers for the Bison included Joynes, Bruster and Herrero. Joynes posted his first double-figure night as a Bison, finishing with 15 points. Bruster added nine, while Herrero finished with eight off the bench.
After posted double-digit steals in 21 games last season, the Bison were at it again, pestering the Bobcats for 13 steals on the night. Bruster led the way defensively, finishing with five steals to go along with three two blocks. Rudolph and Pedro Lalor (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) totaled two steals, each.
With the win, head coach Andrew Sachs picked up his 100th career victory in just six seasons with the Green & White. Over his career with the Bison, Sachs has posted a record of 100-38 and has a winning percentage of .724, marking the highest winning percentage of any basketball coach in the history of the program.
The Bison will be back in action on Tuesday, November 18 when they travel to Alliance, Ohio for a non-conference game with Mount Union. The contest is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip.