December 7, 2013

Second half turnovers cost Grove City at Bethany

Bethany, W.Va. -- The Grove City College men's basketball team committed a season-high 20 turnovers, including 12 in the second half, and the Wolverines' late rally came up short in a 63-61 Presidents' Athletic Conference loss at Bethany on Saturday evening.

Junior Brian Giesler (Harrisville, Pa./Slippery Rock) poured in a career and game-high 27 points, including a Grove City single-game record eight three-pointers, to keep the Wolverines in the game almost single-handedly. Junior Josh Patterson (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette) added 10 points and four assists while fellow junior J.T. Schwartz (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) led the Wolverines in both rebounds (8) and assists (5).

After Kevin Jackson opened the game with a three for Bethany, junior Mitch Marmelstein (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./St. Margaret's) evened the score with a three of his own and then answered a Jackson jumper with a second three to give the Wolverines an early 6-5 lead.

Giesler, the PAC leader in both threes made and three-point field goal percentage, followed with his first triple of the game. Delonte' Joyce would go 1-2 from the line for Bethany, and sophomore Isaiah Reeves (Pittsburgh, Pa./Perry) would answer with a layup to push the Wolverines advantage to 11-6 with 15:04 remaining in the first half.

After Tyrone Smothers hit a three to cut the Grove City lead to 11-9, Giesler hit two more and Reeves and junior Christian Durbin (Harmony, Pa./Seneca Valley) each added one as the Wolverines stretched their lead to 23-9 with 10:21 left.

Smothers would hit a pair of free throws to end the Bison drought, but Giesler responded with his fourth three of the half to give Grove City it's largest lead at 15 points. Giesler then answered a Rudolph three with his fifth, keeping the Wolverine lead at 15 at 29-14 with 6:47 to play in the half.

After a Patterson trey at the 5:44 mark gave the Wolverines a 32-19 lead, Bethany would hold Grove City scoreless for four minutes, using a pair of turnovers to cut the deficit to 32-27 with 3:43 remaining. Both teams struggled to score in the closing minutes of the half, as a Giesler free throw with 1:42 remaining made it a 33-27 Wolverine lead heading into the locker room.

Giesler led all scorers with 16 points in the first half as 30 of the Wolverines' 33 points came from downtown.

A Patterson layup and a jumper by sophomore Erik Carlstrom (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) extended Grove City's lead back to 37-27 to open the second half, but from there, Bethany would go on a 16-0 run spanning five minutes to take a 43-37 lead with 11:36 remaining.

During that stretch, the Wolverines, who coming into the game were averaging a PAC-fewest 11.8 turnovers per game, committed six turnovers in nine possessions.

The Wolverines would continue to fight, and, following a Schwartz free throw, Patterson connected from deep to bring the Wolverines back within two at 43-41. Giesler would then answer a Smothers three with his sixth of the day, but Jackson would follow with yet another three to keep the Bison lead at five.

After a Ramel Young dunk, Giesler would hit number seven to make the score 51-47 with 8:08 remaining. Lawrence Weldon and Leslie Addy would hit consecutive layups to give Bethany its largest lead of the day at 55-47, but Giesler responded with his eighth triple to keep the Wolverines within five.

Joyce would push Bethany's lead back to eight with a three of his own, but Durbin scored four straight points to keep the Wolverines close at 58-54 with 3:38 remaining.

A Joyce steal and layup looked as if it might close the door for Bethany, but the Bison committed turnovers on consecutive possessions, the second leading to a Josh Patterson breakaway layup to cut the lead to 60-56.

Another Bethany turnover kept the Wolverines alive, and Marmelstein knocked down his third three of the evening to bring Grove City within a single point at 60-59 with 50 seconds remaining.

The Wolverines opted to foul, sending Jackson to the line where he hit both to give Bethany a 62-59 advantage. On the ensuing possession, Giesler was fouled while shooting a three, and he hit two of three at the line to make it a 62-61 game with 33 seconds left.

Weldon would go 1-2 from the line for the Bison, but a corner three from senior Evan Schell (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oliver) on Grove City's next possession would draw iron.

Addy missed the front end of the one-and-one, giving the Wolverines one last chance. However, the ball was tipped out of bounds with just one second remaining on the clock, and the Wolverines attempt to inbound the ball for a buzzer-beater was deflected into the air as the Bison held on for the victory.

Jackson led Bethany with 18 points while Smothers and Joyce added 12 and 11, respectively. Bethany held a 37-29 advantage on the boards and committed just 12 turnovers.

Grove City returns to action on Wednesday, hosting non-conference opponent Oberlin at 8 p.m.

Box Score

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