UNIONTOWN, Pa. - No. 17 Penn State Fayette rallied within two points of no. 9 Penn State Beaver midway through the second half, but the Lions answered with a 15-4 run to top the Roaring Lions, 86-79, in Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference men's basketball action Saturday afternoon in the Community Center Main Arena.
Fayette (8-12, 7-5 PSUAC) remains in seventh place in the PSUAC, and needs at least two wins in their final five games to qualify for the conference playoffs.
The Roaring Lions received team-highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds from junior Ryan Hart (Pittsburgh, Pa.), his sixth double-double of the season. Junior David Winns (Washington, DC) added 19 points and seven boards for Fayette, while sophomore Tyler VanOlst (California, Pa.) made four three-point field goals to account for his 12 points. VanOlst also added a career-high three blocks, and freshman Brandon Cunningham (Rancho Cucamonga, Pa.) scored 11 points for the Roaring Lions.
Beaver led by as many as 15 in the first half, but Fayette was able to cut the deficit to six, at 38-32. But the Lions used a 6-2 run to finish out the half and take a 44-34 lead into the break. The Roaring Lions answered early in the second half, as a 16-6 run, including 11 points from Hart, made it a 52-50 game with 13:06 to play.
Over the next six minutes, Beaver controlled the tempo and the ball, and outscored Fayette 15-5 for a 67-55 lead. The Lions extended their lead to as many as 16 with 6:38 remaining, but the Roaring Lions still came back with a 20-8 run to trail 78-74. During their late run, Fayette used balanced scoring from five different players. But Beaver's Nick Miller, who finished with 13 points, answered with a big three-pointer with 1:13 to play to put the Lions back up by seven. Despite a three-point play from Winns, Beaver used five made free throws sandwiched around a Hart basket to close out the game.
Fayette gave away 25 turnovers to Beaver, who turned those into 29 points. Beaver held slim advantages in rebounding, 46-44, and shooting, 46 percent to 42 percent. The Roaring Lions were able to secure 19 offensive rebounds and convert them into 25 points, but it was not enough as Beaver controlled the paint, 46-38.
Chris Weathers led Beaver with 23 points, and Darius Prince added 10 points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Lions.
Fayette returns to action Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 8:00 p.m. as they host Penn State Greater Allegheny. Fayette knocked off the Lions on Jan. 31, 106-75. The game will mark Fayette's inaugural "Coaches vs. Cancer" game, as a commemorative ball and Coaches vs. Cancer apparel will be used. Raffles, student giveaways and other events are planned. Admission is $5 for adults, and free for anyone under the age of 12. Fayette students, faculty and staff will be admitted free, but are encouraged to make a donation. All proceeds will benefit the local American Cancer Society.