By TREY SHIFFLETT Tower Writer
Entering the season with seven new freshman and losing seven seniors, head coach Nick Hager knew this season would be a test.
Bethany Men’s basketball team got off to a slow start in the beginning season falling 0-3 before tallying their first win by beating Bryn Athyn led by Junior Captains Aiden Albert and Trey Shifflett. Opening night of college basketball Bethany went on to face Marietta who was ranked #8 in the country at the time. Bethany hung in the game until late first half when Marietta went on a 14-0 run connecting on all three 3 point shots during that run and went ahead by twenty points. As the lead continued to grow, Bethany had no answer finally falling 63-93.
After picking up their first win on the road against a tough Bryn Athyn team, Bethany went on an eleven-game losing streak losing a few in overtime. One of the devastating losses came back on December 8, 2018 when Bethany hosted Thiel college. Bethany opened the game with a layup by Shifflett and the green and white maintained control. The bison led by as many as seventeen points throughout the game. The green and white came out of halftime freezing cold shooting a horrible 28.6% from the field in the second half while the Tomcats shot 37% to help mount their late comeback. The cold second half shooting from the Bison allowed the Tomcats to climb back and tie the game as Jr guard Daquan Simmons knocked down three treys in a row to tie the game up 56-56 with few minutes left in the game. Thiel went ahead with a pair of foul shots from Terrance Holloway. Moments later, the Bison would tie the game from a Shifflett layup assisted on Khalil Wilson (Pittsburgh/PA). The Bison had an opportunity to win after a Thiel turnover but missed lay-up and three pointers fell short. In overtime, the momentum was shifted to the Tomcats connecting on the first 4 shots of overtime seeing their lead rise to nine in the opening minutes of overtime. The Bison kept battling with a layup coming from Khalil Wilson, bringing the Tomcat lead down to seven. Foul trouble would put Thiel at the line allowing the Tomcats to build the lead back to nine. The Bison cut the lead back to six after a Shifflett three, but time ran out for the Bison.
Two weeks later Bethany traveled to Huntington, PA for the Comfort Inn Holiday Tournament at Juniata College, the alma matter for head coach Nick Hager. Opening the tournament against Stockton University, Bethany lost in a thriller comeback by four points. Aiden Albert led the comeback with 28 points, 6-8 from downtown. With Juniata losing to Randolph the following game, Juniata faced Bethany the next day in a consolation matchup where Juniata ended up winning by a total of 13 points. Bethany was led by Shifflett with 25 points and freshman guard Derrick White Jr adding 14 points and dishing out six assists. Bethany fell to 1-10 just before Christmas break.
As rebuilding years go, the Bison have much to look forward to next season. Maintaining a solid core of returners, there is hope that the White and Green will start rolling through their season.