Bethany Men Roll Over Geneva In PAC Quarterfinals

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 On a night that saw senior Delonte’ Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) etch his name in the Bison history books, the Bethany College men’s basketball team defeated Geneva College, 70-52, in the quarterfinal round of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship Tournament on Tuesday.

As was the case for many of the Bison’s contests throughout the regular season, the first-half between the two teams was a tightly contested affair, with neither team holding more than a five-point advantage at any point in the half.

The game saw three ties through just the first five minutes, as the Golden Tornadoes kept pace with the Bison, hitting on three of their first four three-point attempts. It was a Bison three pointer by Joyce, however, that knotted the contest at 11-11 with 14:46 to play in the opening stanza.

Bethany and Geneva would find themselves tied four more times in the opening half, including at 15, 19, 21 and 25-25. After a pair of free-throws by Geneva‘s Jacob Jaros tied the game for a seventh time, the Bison went on what was the largest run of the half.

On just a five-point run, the Green & White took the largest lead of the frame, 30-25 with 1:43 to play in the half. Alan Harper (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) hit the first jumper, and was followed by a three from Joyce to give Bethany the five-point advantage. The three point shot gave Joyce 11 for the opening stanza, making him the 25th Bison all-time to record 1,000 points in his career.

After the Joyce three, Geneva‘s Jimmy Leichliter was fouled on a three-point attempt on Geneva‘s next possession, giving him three free-throws with 1:17 to play. Leichliter converted all three shots from the charity stripe, and the Bison went into the locker room clinging to a two-point advantage, 30-28.

The second half started out much like the first, with neither team having a lot of wiggle room. Bethany still held a two-point lead (36-34) after a basket by Geneva‘s Ethan Adamcyzk with 14:47 to play. However, the Green & White would begin to pull away.

It took just three minutes for Bethany to turn the game in their favor, jumping on an 11-1 run to push their lead to 47-35 with 11:32 remaining. Joyce got the run going with a layup, which was followed by a jumper from Harper. Joyce then made it five points in the run, canning a three to push the lead to eight. Following a Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) bucket, Harper hit his second jumper of the run, and the Bison found themselves up 12.

Eventually, Geneva would claw their way back to within single digits as a pair of free throws by Jacob Jaros cut the Bethany lead to 49-41. From there, however, the Bison would take complete control.

The Bethany defense went into lock-down mode, holding Geneva without a made field goal for over six minutes in the stretch as the Green & White used an 18-1 run to blow the game wide open. Joyce scored 11 points in the run, which included putting the nail in the coffin. His three pointer with 2:21 to play pushed the Bison’s lead to its largest of the game at 25 (67-42). From there, the Bison would coast to the finish line, eventually taking the victory by a 70-52 score.

Offensively, Joyce posted his 13th 20-point game of the season, completing the contest with a game-high 27. The senior shot the ball very efficiently in the win, converting on 8of-15 from the field while hitting a season-best five three-point shots. With his 27 points, Joyce has now moved into 24th on Bethany‘s all-time scoring list with 1,017 points.

Four other Bison scored at least seven points for Green & White and Harper and senior Jeff Joynes (Baltimore, Md./Poly) totaled 12, each. Bruster finished with eight points while freshman Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) totaled seven.

Defensively, the Bison did a nice job of limiting good looks for the Golden Tornado shooters. Geneva came into the game ranked first in the PAC in field goal percentage (.462). However, the Bison held them to just 34.6% shooting for the game, and forced Geneva to shoot 5-of-27 from beyond the three-point line.

With the victory, the Bison have earned the right to move on to the conference semifinals for the first time since the 2011-12 season. The Green & White will travel to Waynesburg, Pa. on Thursday to take on the second-seeded Yellow Jackets of Waynesburg University. The contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.

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