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Lions' Seniors Key in 93-87 Win Over Pitt-Bradford

Lions' Seniors Key in 93-87 Win Over Pitt-Bradford

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2/15/2017 — ALTOONA, Pa. - On the team's Senior Night Wednesday evening in the Adler Gym, the Penn State Altoona men's basketball team's five senior players came up big in an important 93-87 win over Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Pitt-Bradford.

For the Lions (13-11, 12-5 AMCC), the win clinches a home AMCC Tournament playoff game for the first time since the 2007-2008 season. Penn State Altoona men's basketball will host a to-be-determined opponent in the Adler Gym in the first round of the playoffs next Wednesday, February 22.

Senior guard Javon Wilson (Washington, D.C./T.C. Williams) tied for the team lead in points with 22 while dishing out six assists and grabbing five rebounds. Fellow senior guard Quinn Luhr (Johnsonburg, PA/Johnsonburg) finished with 20 points and six rebounds.

Senior forward Jordan Smith (Pittsburgh, PA/Taylor Allderdice) secured a team-high 10 rebounds and moved into first place on the Lions' all-time rebounds list, becoming the Penn State Altoona men's basketball program's top rebounder in team history. He finished the game with 595 career rebounds, passing former Lion Quintin Dziabo (2004-2008) and his previous record of 586 rebounds during the game.

Senior guard/forward Anton Lucas (Alexandria, VA/Mount Vernon) added 11 points, four assists, three steals, and three rebounds. Senior guard Tay Charles (Chambersburg, PA/Chambersburg) scored eight points and recorded two assists.

Junior guard/forward Ishimeal Nance (Muscle Shoals, AL/Muscle Shoals/Snead State C.C.) scored 22 points while adding seven rebounds and three steals.

"What a night to be a Penn State Altoona Lion. It was a great night for our 2016-2017 senior class, with a great ceremony before the game to recognize their achievements as individual players and what they've done for this program throughout their careers," said Penn State Altoona men's basketball head coach David McGreal. "What a great way to cap the night by coming back in the second half, playing as a team, and getting a much-needed and hard-earned win."

The victory, which is the Lions' 12th conference win of the season, also establishes a new team record for AMCC wins in a single season.

"In the second half, Javon, Ishimeal, and Quinn all made huge plays down the stretch. I thought Anton and Jordan really cleaned up the boards, and Tay did a great job facilitating and sparking us, both offensively and defensively," said McGreal. "I gave the seniors the majority of the minutes tonight. I wanted them to cap their Senior Night the right way, and they did."

Pitt-Bradford (11-12, 9-8 AMCC) got a game-high 29 points from Christian Perkins, while Evan Greening scored 26 points and led all players with 14 rebounds. Fateem Brockington added 18 points and five assists.

The Panthers built a double-digit advantage late in the opening period while limiting Penn State Altoona to just nine first half field goals and a 33.3% shooting percentage. Back-to-back jumpers from Perkins gave Pitt-Bradford a 31-24 lead at 5:08. Greening's layup at 3:40 helped the visitors to their first double-digit lead, 35-24. Greening converted a three-point play at 2:18 to make it 40-28.

Trailing 43-34 at the half, Penn State Altoona went to work right away and erased its deficit with a 10-0 run. Charles opened the second half scoring with a jumper, and Wilson connected from three-point range at 18:54. Wilson's layup at 18:17 and another trey at 17:55 put Penn State Altoona on top 44-43.

Jumpers from Nance and Smith helped the Lions to a 50-47 lead by 14:47. Three-pointers by Wilson and Nance extended their team's lead to seven, 61-54, by 11:02.

Pitt-Bradford battled back to tie the score several times, and the Panthers even reclaimed the lead at 6:39 on Greening's layup that made it 69-68.

But Penn State Altoona responded with a 7-0 run, capped by Luhr's three-point play at 5:05, a fastbreak layup and free throw that gave his team a 75-69 advantage. Luhr's three-pointer at 2:58 and his layup at 2:40 made it 81-72. Lucas converted a three-point play of his own at 1:58, making a transition basket and sinking the foul shot to give Penn State Altoona a 10-point lead, 84-74. Nance's dunk 20 seconds later made it a 12-point game.

In the final 35 seconds, Luhr went 4-for-4 from the foul line and Nance was 2-for-2 to help the Lions hang on and fend off Pitt-Bradford. The Lions made 34 free throws on the night, the second-most in a game in team history.

"We've won the most conference games in a season in history, we're hosting a conference tournament game for the first time since 2007-2008, and we also got our 13th overall win, which is the second-most in a season in school history," said McGreal. "What a way for these seniors to go out, being recognized for their individual accomplishments and then making history as a team. As I told them, now the 2016-2017 team will be the one that everybody will be looking up to in future seasons of Penn State Altoona men's basketball history."

Penn State Altoona led Pitt-Bradford in points off turnovers (27-17), fastbreak points (18-4), and bench points (24-10).

Penn State Altoona finishes its regular season schedule with the AMCC's "Game of the Week" at conference foe Penn State Behrend this Saturday, February 18 at 3:00 p.m. in Erie. With a win, the Lions can move up into the third seed for the AMCC Tournament, in which case they would face the sixth seed on Wednesday. With a loss, Penn State Altoona stays in the fourth spot and would host the fifth seed in the first round playoff game.


Photo: Penn State Altoona's five senior players each had a key role in their team's win over Pitt-Bradford on Wednesday for Senior Night.

TAGS: men's basketball