By Charles Jardine
The Franciscan University men’s basketball team defeated the Bethany College Bison 65-63 on Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.
Junior guard Josh Zimmerman and senior guard Colton Hage started off the game quick with a layup and jumper to put the Barons in the lead 4-3.
Junior guard Joseph Ciola joined in on the scoring action with a fast break layup and a free throw. Down 9-3, the Bison quickly mounted a comeback and made back-to-back threes to tie up the game.
Feeding off their energy, the Bison took charge and went on a 6-0 run to out themselves up 15-9. Hage responded for the Barons with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to three.
The game continued to go back and forth until the fifth minute with the score tied 26-26. Hage shot another three to put the Barons on top, but the Bison closed out the half on a 7-2 run to put them in the lead 33-31.
Junior forward Nicholas Allienello started the second half hot for the Barons, making a layup and free throw to put the Barons back on top. Three-pointers by Ciola and Hage with a block from Allienello rocketed the Barons to a four-point lead 43-39.
Graduate student forward Travis Lien joined in on the scoring fun with a layup, jumper and a couple of free throws to extend the Barons’ lead to 10. The Bison responded with good defense and persistence on the offensive end. A couple jumpers and free throws helped them close the gap to 51-48.
The game continued to be scrappy with both teams fighting for the ball and the lead, but, ultimately, with six minutes left the game was tied 55-55.
Zimmerman quickly made a layup, but the Bison responded with a jumper of their own. Lien went one for two on free throws and was mirrored on the Bethany end. Bethany then took the lead 61-28 with a 3-pointer, but Hage responded with one of his own to tie the game up again.
With less than a minute left, each side began fouling the other team. Zimmerman, followed by senior guard Aidan Hickey, hit a few free throws each to give the barons a three-point lead, 64-61.
Zimmerman made another free throw and the Bison scored a layup with time expiring, giving the Barons the win 65-63.
In their next game, the men’s basketball team would lose in a nailbiter 77-74 to the Westminster College Titans.