W&J Wins Fourth-Straight
WASHINGTON, Pa. – Washington & Jefferson shot 65 percent in the first half, including 7-of-10 accuracy from three-point range, and held on to knock off Bethany 74-67 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference men’s basketball regular-season finale for both squads Saturday, February 19 at the Henry Memorial Center.
The Presidents (11-14, 8-6 PAC) snapped a six-game losing streak to the Bison (18-7, 10-4 PAC) and clinched the No. 4 seed and a quarterfinal round home game for next week’s PAC Tournament. W&J will host fifth-seeded Thomas More at 7:00 pm on Tuesday.
W&J ended the regular season with four consecutive wins to grab the fourth seed. Bethany is the third seed and hosts sixth-seeded Westminster Tuesday at 8:00 pm.
Bethany only led once the entire game after James Barton’s three-pointer gave the Bison a 3-2 advantage at the 18:12 mark. W&J ripped off 19 of the next 26 points to claim a 21-10 lead after senior guard Brian Felker (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) nailed a triple. Felker went over 1,300 career points in the win.
Brady Pacific, who set a career high with 21 points for the Bison, narrowed the gap to 27-22 at the 6:34 mark, but W&J ended the half with a 17-4 run to take a 44-26 lead into halftime. Senior point guard Adam Braithwaite (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) canned pair of three-pointers during the spurt, including a key shot just before time expired.
W&J led by double digits for a majority of the second half, but a 19-6 Bison rally inside of five minutes remaining brought BC to within 70-67 with 50 seconds left. Pacific canned three trifectas during the run. However, the Presidents put the game away at the foul line as senior guard Paul Matthews (Greensburg, Pa./Greensburg Salem) and sophomore guard Zach Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) knocked down free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the victory.
Felker finished with 21 points (6-of-11 shooting) and nine rebounds, while Bellhy added 16 points. Matthews collected 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. W&J shot 52 percent (22-of-42) overall and 8-of-14 from three-point range. The Presidents scored 16 points off of 12 Bison turnovers.
Barton finished with 16 points for the Bison, who shot 38 percent (23-of-61). BC made 14-of-34 three-pointers. British Alexander grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, but was limited to just one first-half basket.
W&J and Thomas More split the season series with both teams winning on their home floors. The Saints (12-13, 8-6) won 57-52 on Jan. 5 in Kentucky, while W&J earned a 68-64 victory on Feb. 5 in Washington.