Joyce Steals A Victory as Bison Defeat Thiel for Sixth-Straight Win
Jan. 31 – BETHANY, W. Va. – Two clutch free-throws and a last second steal by senior Delonte' Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) helped the Bison men's basketball team defeat Thiel College, 61-59, for the team's sixth-straight victory on Saturday. The win pulled the Bison into a virtual tie with the Tomcats and Waynesburg for third in the PAC standings.
The Green & White opened the contest on an 11-6 run over the first five minutes. The exclamation point of the run was a fast break, two-fisted dunk by sophomore guard Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle), and the Bison were up early with 15:22 to play.
Over the next six minutes, however, the Tomcats flipped the script, going on a 16-3 run to take an eight-point advantage (22-14) with 9:14 to play in the opening half.
With the Bison still down seven, 26-19, at the 6:30 mark of the opening stanza, the Green & White would make a push, outscoring the Tomcats 11-3 over the final six minutes to take a one-point lead into the break. The push was started on a layup by Joyce, which was followed by back-to-back buckets from Yuki Yashiro (Chiba, Japan) and Javonte Trujillo (Denver, Colo./Grandview).
With the contest tied at 27-27, freshman Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) netted his only three of the game, giving the Bison a three-point advantage. The Bison would then head into the locker room holding a slim, one-point lead, 30-29.
The contest remained close over the first ten minutes of the second-half, with the Bison holding a single-digit advantage, but never allowing the Tomcats to take the lead. With 10:10 to play, Thiel had snuck back into the ball game, narrowing the gap to just two points, 42-40, on a layup by Mert Ozkaynak.
From that point, Joyce kicked his game into high gear, scoring eight of the Bison's next 10 points as the Green & White outscored the Tomcats, 10-2. Joyce's final jumper of the run with 6:59 left on the clock, gave Bethany a 52-42 lead.
Following the Bison run, Thiel would immediately respond, receiving a three from Berto Dryden and five-straight points from Tyreik Burton to once again cut the Bethany lead to two, 54-52, with 4:17 to play.
The two teams would continue to trade blows, eventually finding themselves knotted at 59-59 on a tip-in by Khari Bess with 1:28 remaining.
Bethany had the first chance to take the lead late in the game, but a three-point attempt from Jeff Joynes (Baltimore, Md./Poly) was wide of the mark. Thiel then had an opportunity to complete the comeback, but a missed jumper by Dryden turned the Tomcats away.
The Bison had time for one final play with 34 seconds left on the game clock and the shot clock turned off. The ball found its way into the hands of Joyce who made his move with 10 seconds left in regulation. Joyce took the ball to the left of the key where he was fouled by Clandell Cetoute with three seconds to play. Joyce calmly nailed both free throws, and the Bison had the two-point advantage with 3.3 to go.
After a timeout by the Tomcats, Thiel attempted to inbound the ball to get a good look at the potential game-winning bucket. However, Joyce had other ideas, as he stripped Bess of the ball and took it the other way as time expired, lifting Bethany to their sixth-straight conference victory.
Offensively, Joyce led the Bison, scoring at least 20 points for the fifth time in the team's last six games. He finished the contest 7-of-8 from the charity stripe and also posted eight rebounds in the win. In the Bison's six-game winning streak, Joyce is averaging 25.6 points per game.
Other solid performances for the Bison included Jones, Joynes and Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic). Jones posted a career-high 15 points, including 8-of-11 from the free-throw line while Joynes totaled 11 points in a reserve role. Bruster filled the stat sheet for the Bison, posting seven points, a team-high nine rebounds, three steals and five blocks. His block total marks the second-highest single-game mark in school history.
The Bison will be back in action on Wednesday, February 4 as they play host to Thomas More College in a key conference matchup. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip.