Bearcats hold on for victory over Grove City, 59-56

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The Bearcats survived a late-game rally by the Grove City Wolverines, earning a 59-56 victory in the Carey Center to remain undefeated in Presidents' Athletic Conference play.

Grove City led throughout much of the first 10 minutes, holding a 12-8 lead after a score by Caleb Knudsen at the 10:40 mark.  SVC then outscored the opponents by a 12-2 margin over the next 3:15, with a balanced attack.  Ben Klimchock started the rally with a floater from the baseline, then Jaylon Bell tied the game at 12-12, followed by a three-point play from Sean Kett.  After a Grove City score, Pat Jones hit a three, then Bell came up with a quick steal, drove the lane and scored while drawing a foul.  After hitting the free throw, Bell put SVC in front 21-14.

However, the 7-point advantage would prove to be the largest that SVC would enjoy in the game, as the visitors fought back to make it a three-point game at halftime, 29-26.

Both teams came out of the break sharp on defense and unable to score on offense.  A steal by Mitch Marmselstein led to a score at the 17:03 mark, the first points of the second half.  SVC was kept off the board until 16:30 was left on the clock, with Bobby Swartwout hitting a pair of free throws to make it a 31-28 lead for SVC.

A free throw by Grove City tied the game, 33-33 with 14:11 to go, but JC Howard hit a pair of threes, along with a jumper at the 9:41 mark that put SVC in front 41-37.  Later, up 43-41, Bell sparked the Bearcats with four straight points giving SVC a 47-41 lead at hte 7:11 mark.

After a timeout, the Wolverines then scored the game's next six points, tying things up at 47-47 with a baseline jumper from Knudsen with 5:35 remaining.  Sean Kett quickly returned the lead to the SVC side of the ledger on the next possession, then hit a pair of free throws after a Grove City score, making it 51-49.  After a defensive stop, Jones drove the lane for a score after a missed dunk attempt by Grove City to make it a four-point game.

After a Kett score made it 55-51, Brian Giesler hit a three that cut the gap to just one point with 1:37 left, but Bell hit a key three with 1:02 to go, giving SVC a 58-54 lead.  Grove City's Tyler McGrath scored with 47 seconds remaining, but SVC took time off the clock before Bell was fouled with 15.7 seconds to go.  After missing the first shot, he hit the second to make it a three-point game, but Grove City had one last chance to tie the game.  After taking a timeout with 10 ticks left.  Grove City was unable to get off a clean shot, as SVC went on to the hard-fought win.

The victory advanced the Bearcats to 5-0 in the PAC, 10-4 overall.  

Kett led the Bearcats with 15 points and 7 rebounds.  Bell added 13 points, with Howard scoring 10.  Austin Ford had 6 rebounds, while Jones had 5 assists.  

Grove City (2-3 PAC) was led by Marmelstein's 18 points, while Knudsen had a double-double, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bearcats return to action on Wednesday (January 14), hosting Washington & Jefferson College at 7:30PM in the Carey Center.