Bison Men's Hoops Scores Big Road Win Against PAC Leader St. Vincent
Jan. 24 – LATROBE, Pa. – Using lock-down defense and a strong team effort, the Bison men's basketball team (10-8, 5-4 PAC) pushed their winning streak to a season-best four games, erasing a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat conference-leading Saint Vincent College, 56-53, in Latrobe on Saturday.
Saint Vincent jumped out to an early seven-point advantage in the opening half, using a 13-6 run in the first five minutes, capped by a pair of free throws from Sean Kett.
With the Bison still down seven (15-8) at the 14:34 mark, the Green & White made a push of their own, outscoring the Bearcats 11-4 to knot the game at 19-19 with 7:12 to play in the opening half. The run was bookended by a pair of three-point baskets. The first game from junior Alan Harper (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic), while the last shot of the run was canned by senior Jeff Joynes (Baltimore, Md./Poly). Joynes was also fouled on the three attempt, and the ensuing free-throw and four-point play knotted the game.
From there, however, Saint Vincent would close out the half on a 15-6 run and the Bison found themselves down nine (34-25) at the halftime break.
Saint Vincent opened the second half by pushing the lead to double digits again, 41-31, with 15:16 to play. Down ten, the Bison would respond with a run that would turn the tide of the contest.
The Green & White needed just over five minutes to turn a ten-point Saint Vincent advantage into a two-point Bison lead. Bethany embarked on a 12-0 run, using solid defense to climb back into the ball game.
Delonte' Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) started the run with a three-point basket and then collected a steal which lead to a fast-break bucket for freshman Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy). Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) would then get into the act with an "old-fashioned" three-point play. The bucket and free-throw pulled Bethany within two (41-39) with 13:21 to play.
The Green & White continued to turn the Bearcats away during the run, ending five different Saint Vincent possessions with a steal. The second steal of the run and ensuing lay-in by Joyce tied the game at 41-41. Jones then knotted his second steal of the 12-0 spark, leading to a Harper jumper which gave Bethany their first lead of the contest, 43-41.
Saint Vincent would immediately respond, using five points from JC Howard to fuel a 7-0 run and retake a five-point advantage (48-43) with 8:08 to play.
Kett would extend the Bearcat lead to six points (51-45) with 5:11 to play, but the Bison would once again turn on the defensive pressure.
Bethany allowed Saint Vincent to score just two points over the final 5:11 of the contest, as they finished the game on an 11-2 run. Joynes got the run started with a three to pull the Bison within three (51-48) with 4:35 to play.
After a Bruster layup pulled the Bison within one, Joyce hit what was perhaps his biggest shot of the season to this point, draining a three to give the Green & White a two-point lead with 2:31 to play. On the Bearcats ensuing possession, Bruster came up with a big block against Kett to turn Saint Vincent away yet again.
Harper gave the Bison a four-point cushion (55-51) on a layup with 1:09 remaining before Kett responded with a jumper to cut the Bethany lead to two.
Saint Vincent would have one last shot at sending the game into overtime after Joynes gave Bethany a three-point lead (56-53) on a free throw with four seconds to play. Kett's three-point attempt was off the mark, however, and the Bison came away with the three-point win.
The Bison were able to hang their hats on the defensive side of the floor in the contest, holding the Bearcats to their second-lowest point total of the season while also forcing Saint Vincent into a season-high 23 turnovers. The Green & White also held Saint Vincent under 40 percent shooting for just the fifth time this season.
Offensively, the Green & White saw four players register double figures, led by 14 points from Bruster. Joyce added 13 points while Harper and Joynes added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Defensively, Bethany registered 16 steals, which is their second highest total of the season. Joyce tied a season-high with nine swipes, while Jones totaled a career high, capturing five steals in the contest.
With the victory, the Green & White continued their recent success in one of the hardest venues for a road team in the conference. Since the 2011-12 season, the Bearcats have posted a 43-5 record at home in the Robert S. Carey Center. However, three of those five losses have come at the hands of the Bison, including an 85-65 win in Latrobe last season.
The Bison will be back in action on Wednesday, January 28 when they open a six-game home stand against Geneva College. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.