NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Bethany College senior Matt Drahos (Wheeling, W.Va./John Marshall) scored a school-record 49 points and the Bison men’s basketball team also set a school record for points in a 140-109 victory at Westminster (Pa.) College Monday night.
The record-setting win, which also extended the school record to four consecutive games with 100 or more points, was BC’s eighth in a row and improves their record to 13-4 overall and 4-0 in the PAC. The Titans fell to 4-11 and 1-2 in the conference.
The records that fell Monday night were in existence for a very long time. The team scoring record had stood for 42 years after being set back in 1964 in a 134-73 romp over Thiel (Pa.) College. The individual scoring mark was shared by two players. It was initially set in 1965 by Rick Cipolla in a game against Thiel. Cipolla is currently ranked 10th at Bethany in career scoring with 1,199 points.
The record was matched in 1999 when Keith Schubert, Bethany’s all-time leading scorer, equaled the mark with 45 points in a double-overtime victory against Ohio University-Eastern. Schubert is still the only player in Bethany history to surpass 2,000 career points with 2,127.
There was little doubt Monday’s game would be a scoring-fest and it was that way from the tip. Bethany sophomore guard Brody Jackson (Akron, Ohio/Manchester) got his own huge night underway by putting the team’s first seven points on the board. The Bison would take an 18-8 lead early on and although the Titans moved within five points twice, BC would surge on to a take a 63-49 advantage into halftime.
Matt Drahos and junior Chris Stephens (Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Central) were pacing the Bison offense with 11 points each in the half, which saw Bethany shoot 59 percent (27-46) from the floor and 63 percent (5-8) from the three-point line.
The second half was broken down into two segments, with the first being Westminster’s run to get back into the game. Trailing 67-54 with 18:45 to play, the Titans outscored BC 23-9 over the next five minutes and when Nick Adams drained a three, Westminster had climbed all the way back to knot the score at 76. Titan guard Mark DeMonaco had nine of the points during the run and the Bison committed five turnovers over the stretch that led to 13 Westminster points.
The rest of the game belonged to the Bison in historic fashion. From the 13:16 mark when Jackson hit a lay-up for the go-ahead points, Bethany outscored Westminster 64-33 and Matt Drahos had 32 of those points. Bethany led 86-83 with 10:59 on the clock when a 25-5 blitz put the game in BC’s hands. A three-point play by Drahos started the onslaught and he also ended it with another lay-in to put the Bison in front 111-88 with just under six minutes to play.
From that point on, it was just a question of when the records would fall. Drahos tied the individual scoring record on a foul shot to complete a three-point play with 3:19 left, then broke the record with a lay-up at the 1:59 mark. Matt would finish his scoring night on an alley-oop dunk from his brother Mike Drahos (Wheeling, W.Va./John Marshall) that not only put an exclamation point on his record-breaking night but also tied the College’s team scoring record, as the bucket gave Bethany a 134-105 lead.
The team scoring record would be broken a possession later, as Jackson capped off a 10-for-10 night from the floor with a lay-up that surpassed a record that had stood for more than four decades and was set by the 1964 team that went a perfect 18-0 and won the PAC title.
While there were numerous offensive stars on the night for Bethany, none was brighter than Matt Drahos. He hit 21-of-27 shots from the floor and sank seven-of-nine from the foul line. In addition, he pulled down 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year and 33rd of his career. The big night on the boards also gives him 809 for his career and moved him past Stan Kaniecki (797) for second place on the all-time rebounding list at the school. The Bethany career rebounding leader is Phil Harrison, who was a member of the undefeated 1964 team, who collected 900 boards during his outstanding career.
Drahos, who now has 1,664 career points and is just three behind Kevin Kozup (1993-97) for third place all-time at the school, vaulted himself to the top of the PAC scoring race in one night. He came into the game averaging 20.2 points per game, but now is scoring 21.9 to go in front of Westminster’s DeMonaco (21.7) and Craig Hannon (21.0).
The night wasn’t all Matt Drahos however. Jackson poured in a career-high 24 points on his perfect shooting night, as he was two-for-two from the three-point line and two-for-two from the foul line. While his brother was setting the scoring record, Mike Drahos nearly posted a triple-double, as he collected 18 markers, nine boards and eight assists. Stephens (13) and junior guard Marc Palermo (Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline), who scored 11, also hit for double figures, while senior guard Scott Mezyk (Johnstown, Pa./Westmont-Hilltop) tallied a double-double with 10 points and 12 of the Bison’s 39 assists for the game.
Leading Westminster was DeMonaco, who netted 27, and Hannon, who scored 21, while Brian Urso came off the bench to drop in 15. The 109 points scored tied the record set by the Titans last year in the most points Bethany has ever allowed in a victory.
Bethany will now have four days off to prepare for its next PAC contest, a home game with Grove City (Pa.) College. BC will be looking to extend their six-game winning streak against the Wolverines when the teams tip-off at 2 p.m. Saturday.