Joyce’s Buzzer Beater Lifts Bethany Over P.S. Behrend In ECAC Quarterfinals

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 Bethany men’s basketball senior guard Delonte’ Joyce (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) has scored 1,050 points in his career with the Bison (10-8). 530 of those points came during his senior campaign with 18 points coming tonight. However, his final shot of the night tonight could be the most memorable as he beat the buzzer to give the Green & White a 53-51 victory over Penn State Behrend in the quarterfinal round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference DIII South Regional Championship Tournament.

The Bison and Lions played the first half as close as it could be played, finding themselves knotted at 11-11 with 11:31 to play in the frame. Bethany then took a three-point advantage (14-11) on a three by senior Jeff Joynes (Baltimore, Md./Poly). However, Behrend answered right back with a triple of their own and the contest was tied at 14 all.

The Green & White then used an 11-4 run to open what would be the largest lead of the first half. Joynes led off the run with a basket, which was then immediately followed by a steal and fast-break score from Joyce. After a basket from Penn State’s Nick DeLisio, Bison freshman Liam Davis (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian Prep) converted on a three-point play to push the lead to five, 21-16.

The Lions would once again respond with a bucket, this time from Wes Davic, but the Bison would have an answer as back-to-back jumpers from Joyce and sophomore Antonio Rudolph (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) found their mark. The latter of the two gave Bethany a seven-point advantage, 25-18, with 4:12 to play.

Behrend would not go away, however, as their staunch defense held the Bison to just one bucket over the remainder of the first half. Penn State Behrend outscored the Green & White 9-2 over the final four minutes to send the teams into the halftime break tied at 27-27.

 The first half was played with stout defense on either side, with each team doing what they do best. The Lions held Bethany to just 33 percent shooting from the field in the opening frame, while Bethany forced 10 Behrend turnovers, which included eight steals.

Penn State Behrend opened the second half by pushing the score out to their largest lead of the game. Tied at 29-29, the Lions received back-to-back buckets from Zane Hackett and Keith Wallace to go up 35-31 with 17:09 to play. 


After a 30-second timeout by Head Coach Andrew Sachs, the Bison made their biggest run of the contest. The Green & White strung together an 11-0 run, spanning five minutes, to turn a four-point deficit into a seven-point lead. 


Joyce led off the run with a three-point basket and followed that with a jumper off an offensive rebound to retake the lead for the Bison. Bethany then received three baskets from three different players including Chris Harris (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville-Broadview Heights), Calique Jones (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) and Rudolph. His bucket was once again the last of the run, giving the Bison a 42-35 lead with 12:22 to play. 


Just as in the first half, Behrend would have a response to Bethany’s run, going on an 8-0 run of their own to take the lead back from the Bison. The Lions’ run was fueled by a pair of triples from Connor McLaughlin, the second of which gave Penn State Behrend a 43-42 lead with 9:48 to go.

The team’s would change leads multiple times before the Bison found themselves down three. A dunk by Hackett gave Penn State Behrend the 49-46 advantage. However, two possessions later, the Bison would have an answer in the form of a three from Andrew Williams (Oil City, Pa./Oil City).

After the two team’s traded buckets to tie the game at 51-51, both offenses grinded to a halt, as the defensive prowess of both teams began to show. Both team’s came up with key steals down the stretch, but perhaps none was bigger than Rudolph’s, who turned the Lions away from a potential go-ahead score with a pilfer with 17 seconds remaining.

Following two-straight fouls by the Lions, the Bison had time for one final play with 1.9 remaining on the game clock. Junior Alan Harper (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) threw the ball into the corner where Joyce had just come off a double screen. Joyce then hoisted the ball from just inside the three-point arc, finding nothing but net to give Bethany the 53-51 victory.

In the contest, the Bison were led by Joyce who totaled 18 points and eight rebounds while shooting an efficient 8-of-16 from the floor. His final shot of the game gave the Green & White their first post-season victory since the 2001-2002 campaign, when the Bison defeated Pitt-Bradford 110-98 in the opening round of the NCAA National Tournament.

Joynes and Rudolph also came up big for the Green & White. Joynes finished with 10 points while Rudolph added six points and four steals, including the key pilfer which set up the game-winning shot.

Defensively, the Bison played tough, on-ball defense throughout the game, forcing the Lions into a season-high 19 turnovers. The Green & White tallied 14 steals, which led to 20 points off turnovers. Along with Rudolph’s four, Joyce totaled three while Harris, Joynes and Darrian Bruster (Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Central Catholic) also swiped two, each.

Adding to his steal totals for the season, Joyce now sits at 90 steals during the course of the 2014-15 campaign. He now needs just four more to surpass the school’s all-time record of 93, set by Nick Wilcox in 2011-12.

With the victory over the Lions, the Bison have now earned the hosting rights for the ECAC DIII South Regional Semifinals and Championship Final which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, March 7 & 8. The Bison will take on fifth-seeded Arcadia, who defeated DeSales 89-71 in their quarterfinal contest. The other semifinal matchup with pit #2 Stevenson University against #6 Hood College. The Mustangs defeated McDaniel College 72-66, while Hood earned a road victory at Waynesburg, 59-55. All action on Saturday is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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