|by Scott Elliott|
ALTOONA, Pa. - Penn State Altoona outscored the Pitt-Bradford men’s basketball team 18-5 over a key five-minute stretch Wednesday night to deal the Panthers their third straight loss, 93-87.
The game was all too reminiscent of the team’s loss to Alfred State on Jan. 24, where it led by double-digits in the first half and fell apart defensively in the second half, surrendering 57 points.
Penn State Altoona used a similar script after falling behind by 12 in the first half. With Pitt-Bradford leading by one, the Panthers went on a 17-6 scoring run to push their advantage to 40-28. They eventually led 43-34 at the break.
It took the Lions two and a half minutes to erase Pitt-Bradford’s halftime lead. Penn State Altoona scored the first 11 points of the second half to go ahead 44-43, and a jumper at the 15:15 mark stretched its advantage to three.
A three-pointer with 11:02 remaining extended the Lions’ advantage to 61-54, but the Panthers rallied, scoring eight straight points, the last four by Fateem Brockington, to take a one-point lead. The teams would trade baskets over the next three-plus minutes, and Evan Greening’s bucket with 6:39 remaining pulled Pitt-Bradford back in front 69-68.
Two made free throws on the other end would ignite Penn State Altoona’s closing kick. The Lions would score six straight and 18 of the game’s next 23 points to build its own 12-point lead. Pitt-Bradford attempted to close the gap in the final minute, yet Penn State Altoona would go 7-8 from the line to preserve the win.
The Lions scored 59 points in the second half and continued an alarming trend for the Panthers. In their last two games, they have been outscored 100-64 in the second half.
Penn State Altoona shot 51 percent and was 20-28 from the free throw line in the second half. The Lions went to the line a total of 47 times and shot 72 percent. Pitt-Bradford hit at a 46 percent clip overall but managed just one three in 13 attempts.
Christian Kelly-Perkins scored a career-high 29 points, going 11-18 from the field and 6-6 from the stripe. Greening totaled 26 points and 14 rebounds for his 19th double-double, and Brockington added 18 points.
Pitt-Bradford drops to 11-12 overall and 9-8 in the AMCC. The Panthers close out the regular season Saturday at home versus Pitt-Greensburg.
Kelly-Perkins 11-6-6-29, Greening 10-6-8-26, Brockington 6-6-7-18, Harris 3-0-3-6, Kinsey 1-1-2-3, Haenel 0-2-2-2, Niedermeyer 1-0-0-2, Sutton 0-1-2-1, Atkinson 0-0-0-0, Dahlstrand 0-0-0-0. 32-22-30-87.
PENN STATE ALTOONA (93)
Wilson 7-5-6-22, Nance 6-9-11-22, Luhr 5-8-9-20, Lucas 2-7-9-11, Charles 2-3-8-8, Smith 4-0-2-8, Gardner-Nicholson 0-2-2-2, Gal 0-0-0-0, West 0-0-0-0, Higley 0-0-0-0. 26-34-47-93.
Halftime: Pitt-Bradford 43-34
3-Point FG’s: Pitt-Bradford – Kelly-Perkins 1; Penn State Altoona – Wilson 3, Luhr 2, Charles 1, Nance 1.