Saint Vincent earn dominant victory in PAC opener at Bethany

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BETHANY, W. Va. (Dec. 3) – JC Howard scored a game-high 23 points as the Saint Vincent men's basketball team earned a 70-52 victory over Bethany in the President's Athletic Conference opener for both teams.  

With the win the Bearcats improved to 1-0 in the PAC and pushed their overall record to 4-3. Bethany dropped to 0-1 in the conference and 4-3 overall.

In a matchup of two of the top programs in the PAC, Saint Vincent built an early when senior Sean Kett made a layup to make it 7-5 Bearcats and break an early tie. The Bearcats held the lead for the remainder of the first half, pushing the advantage into double digits when junior guard JC Howard made a layup and a free throw to complete a three-point play and make it 20-8 with 11:05 to play in the half.

SVC worked the lead up to 25-11 before seeing Bethany score eight of the next 10 points to cut the deficit back to single digits at 27-19. A layup by sophomore Jaylon Bell and a pair of free throws from Bobby Swartwout pushed the lead back into double digits at 31-20 with less than five minutes to play in the first half.

Bethany used a three point field goal by Alan Harper to cut the margin back into single digits before Howard scored five straight points for SVC, putting the Bearcats advantage at 36-23. Howard added another field goal with less than a minute left in the half to put the score at 38-26 in favor of Saint Vincent after the first 20 minutes.

The Bearcats ultimately put the game out of reach with a strong start in the second half. After a basket by Bethany cut the Bearcats lead to 10 points, Saint Vincent responded with 12 straight points to push the lead to 50-28. Jones was a big part of the early second half run, scoring 10 straight points for SVC, including a pair of three pointers.

Saint Vincent held a comfortable lead for the vast majority of the second half. Bethany used a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 15 points at 60-45 with seven minutes to play in the contest.

Junior Ben Klimchock drained a three point basket from the top of the arc to push the Bearcats lead to 66-47 with 4:40 to play and take the sails out of the Bethany comeback effort.

Jones narrowly missed a double-double, scoring 16 points and pulling down a team-best eight rebounds. Klimchock and Austin Ford each recorded eight points in a balanced offensive attack.

Shooting was the story of the night on both ends. SVC put together a 55.1 percentage, while the host Bison converted just 26.8 percent from the field. Saint Vincent also did well behind the three-point line, making 9-of-18 treys (50 percent) in the contest.

The Bearcats return to action when they host Geneva for another PAC game on Saturday, Dec. 6. Start time is set for 6 p.m.