|By Scott Elliott|
BRADFORD, Pa. - Evan Greening scored a game-high 20 points, including two late offensive putbacks, Christian Kelly-Perkins hit a game-sealing three, and the Pitt-Bradford men’s basketball team knocked off Penn State Behrend, 79-74, Saturday afternoon.
It was the Panthers’ first win over the team from Erie since 2010 and snapped a 12-game streak losing to the Lions.
The first half mostly played out like many of the previous meetings between the two rivals. Penn State Behrend methodically built an 11-point lead, using high-ball screens to put pressure on the Panther defense and force mismatches that led to easy baskets inside.
Sahlil Harris never got the memo that the Panthers were supposed to roll over after falling behind to the Lions. He made several plays on both ends of the court to ignite a 13-0 Pitt-Bradford run.
Harris forced a pair of steals and hit a three, bookended by a pair of long triples from teammate John Haenel, to give the Panthers a 40-38 advantage with 2:24 left in the half. The teams would trade baskets, Harris connected for another three, and Pitt-Bradford led 45-44 at the break.
The Panthers extended their lead to double-digits in the second half, going up 62-51 on Manny Welch’s jumper in the paint midway through the period. Penn State Behrend rallied, scoring nine consecutive points to close the gap at 65-64 with 5:02 remaining.
Conner McLaughlin’s long three moments later tied the game at 67. Pitt-Bradford’s Dylan Niedermeyer, who has attempted just seven threes all year, answered with a triple of his own to put the Panthers back in front for good.
The Lions pulled within one on three separate occasions over the final 3:34, but Greening and Kelly-Perkins delivered big plays down the stretch to secure the win. Greening’s putback at the 2:22 mark made it 74-72, and two possessions later, his basket following another Panther miss made it 76-73.
Leading by one, Fateem Brockington found Kelly-Perkins on the wing with 34 seconds left and the junior guard drilled his second three-pointer of the game to deal the knockout blow.
Penn State Behrend entered the contest leading the AMCC in scoring defense at 63 points a game, yet Pitt-Bradford shot 49 percent from the field and hit 11 threes. The Panthers were 12-17 from the line and limited the visitors to 45 percent shooting.
Greening was 9-14 from the field and pulled down 17 rebounds to register his 11th double-double of the season. Brockington, who battled foul-trouble, still managed to score 15 points, and Kelly-Perkins had 12. Welch and Haenel each had nine points apiece, and Harris had eight points, three steals and a block off the bench.
“Good team win,” head coach Britt Moore said. “A bunch of guys stepped up off the bench and played great. I thought we did a good job defensively down the stretch.”
For Moore, it was his first win over Penn State Behrend since taking over the program in 2011.
Pitt-Bradford improves to 5-6 on the year and 3-3 in the AMCC. The Panthers have won two straight and host D’Youville Monday at 8 p.m.
PENN ST.-BEHREND (74)
McLaughlin 6-3-4-18, Fischer 5-4-6-16, Wanker 6-1-2-15, Gorny 3-6-8-12, Colpoys 2-1-2-5, Brinson 1-3-5-5, Pullium 1-0-0-2, Scuilli 0-1-2-1, Conners 0-0-0-0. 24-19-29-74.
Greening 9-2-2-20, Brockington 4-5-6-15, Perkins 5-0-0-12, Welch 2-4-6-9, Haenel 3-0-0-9, Harris 3-0-1-8, Niedermeyer 2-1-2-6, Tennies 0-0-0-0, Kinsey 0-0-0-0, Sutton 0-0-0-0. 28-12-17-79.
Halftime: Pitt-Bradford 45-44
3 Point FG's: Penn St-Behrend - McLaughlin 3, Fischer 2, Wanker 2; Pitt-Bradford - Haenel 3, Harris 2, Perkins 2, Brockington 2, Welch 1, Niedermeyer 1.