Bellhy Nets 1,000th Career Point; Presidents Fall In PAC Semis
BETHANY, W. Va. – Despite 23 points from junior Zach Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry), including the 1,000th of his three-year career, the Washington & Jefferson College men’s basketball team fell to 25th-ranked Bethany in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals by a score of 82-69 on Thursday night at Hummel Field House.
Bellhy’s milestone point came on a free throw with 8:12 remaining in the game. Bellhy is the 15th player at W&J to reach 1,000-point mark and his 500 points this winter tied for the third-highest total in school history.
The seventh-seeded Presidents (9-18) opened the game on fire from the field, as they connected on 10 of their first 11 shots; however, the top-seeded Bison were nearly as good. Bethany nailed 11-of-18 shots during the first nine minutes and maintained a slim advantage.
Bellhy gave W&J its first lead with a three-pointer that made the score 22-19. A layup from senior Uchenna Okocha (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/University School) extended the Presidents’ lead to five.
Bethany surged back in front late in the half behind the three-point shooting of James Barton. Barton keyed a 10-0 run with a pair of triples and the Bison closed out the first half with a 43-39 lead. Barton and Nick Wilcox combined to score 31 of the Bison first-half points, while freshman Andy Carter (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin) was a perfect 4-of-4 shooting, including three triples, to pace the Presidents with 11 points.
After a back-and-forth opening seven minutes of the second half, Bethany seized control of the game with a 13-2 spurt. Reece Mabery started the rally with a layup. He then stole the W&J inbound pass and converted another bucket, helping Bethany open up a 64-54 advantage. The Presidents were unable to chip away at the Bison lead, as Bethany maintained a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the game.
Bellhy was 8-of-15 shooting and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He also grabbed two rebounds, while Carter netted 17 points. Okocha contributed 10 points and seven rebounds. The Presidents fired in 57 percent (26-45) of their shots for their second-straight PAC tourney game, compared to 44 percent (28-63) for the Bison, but were undone by 19 turnovers.
Wilcox paced Bethany was 29 points, while Barton added 21. The Bison grabbed 19 offensive boards and held a 37-24 edge on the glass.
Bethany advances to the PAC Tournament finals on Saturday against Thomas More. The Saints downed Saint Vincent 75-70 on Thursday.