After using a 17-2 run to build a double-digit halftime lead, senior Brady Pacific (Avonmore, Pa./Kiski) heated up in the second half, scoring 12 of his game-high 20 points to help send the Bethany College men's basketball team to a 76-51 triumph at Westminster Wednesday night.
The victory keeps the Bison in first place in the PAC with a 5-0 mark in the conference and 11-2 overall. The Titans fall to 4-9 and 0-5 in the league.
The opening half was close until the Bethany defense sparked a major run to close the stanza. Westminster was in front 7-6 on a three-pointer by Doug Smith, but BC scored seven of the next nine points, with five coming from junior point guard Lawrence Weldon (Baltimore, Md./Poly), and the Green and White never trailed again. They were not able to pull away from the Titans early on, as Bethany led by just three at 23-20 with 9:13 to go following a lay-up from Westminster's Paul Carswell.
That would be the final field goal of the half for the home team however, as Bethany closed the period with a 17-2 run. The Bison defense forced nine of Westminster's 18 first-half turnovers to fuel the surge. The final miscue was a steal by senior Nick Wilcox (Venetia, Pa./Peters Township) and he finished on the other end off an assist from Weldon just before the halftime buzzer to give BC a 40-22 lead at the break.
The Titans broke their long scoring drought with a basket on its initial possession and twice they trimmed the deficit to 15. Both times, the Bison answered on the other end with three-pointers from Pacific and Bethany remained in control. Westminster made one more push to get back in the game, going on an 8-1 run to get within 13 and they were down 56-42 after a Ron Martino hoop at the midway point of the second half.
Once again, Pacific would have an answer, as he swished a trey two possessions later. That initiated a 9-1 run by the Green and White, which was capped by another Pacific trifecta, and Bethany would continue to pull away down the stretch to claim the 25-point victory.
The Bison's long-range shooters, who went 6-for-7 from the arc in the second half, were led by Pacific, as he was 4-for-4 from deep after halftime to pile up a game-high 20 points. Wilcox posted another strong outing with 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals and junior Leslie Addy (Columbia, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) reached double figures with 16. Weldon made his first start of the year a good one, as he amassed seven points, eight assists and five steals.
Westminster, who committed 26 turnovers in the game and shot just 22 percent (4-18) from three-point land, was led by Smith with 17 and Anthony Thomas with 10.
Bethany goes back on the road Saturday for a key early-season conference tilt. The Bison will play at Saint Vincent in a 3 p.m. tip-off Saturday in Latrobe. The Bearcats (9-4) used a three-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime at Thiel Wednesday and they would pull out a 61-57 win to remain unbeaten in the conference as well as 4-0.