February 8, 2012
UNIONTOWN, Pa. - No. 17 Penn State Fayette used a late charge in the first half and a strong second half to knock off Penn State Greater Allegheny, 81-79, in a Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference men's basketball game Wednesday night in the Community Center Main Arena.
The Roaring Lions (9-12, 8-5 PSUAC) take a step closer to becoming eligible for the PSUAC Playoffs, needing at least one more win to qualify for conference postseason play.
Freshman Brandon Cunningham (Rancho Cucamonga, Ca.) scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Roaring Lions, while junior David Winns (Washington, DC) added a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Winns pulled down 11 offensive rebounds, a career-high. Junior James Pratt (Uniontown, Pa.) added 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals for Fayette.
Greater Allegheny used a strong start to claim a 15-5 advantage with 13:12 to play in the first half. The Roaring Lions chipped away the rest of the first half, and Winns' two free throws gave Fayette their first lead, 32-31, with 59 seconds left before the break. However, a Greater Allegheny basket gave the Lions a halftime lead, 33-32.
Fayette came out hot in the second half, and took a quick 40-35 lead with an 8-2 run, including five points from Cunningham. After trading several baskets, Fayette used a 9-0 run midway through the half to take a 64-53 lead with 9:23 remaining. But Greater Allegheny would answer with a run of their own, 14-3, to trail 68-67 with 5:39 left to play. With 2:58 to play, junior Will Gaines (Capitol Heights, Md.) hit a three-pointer to put Fayette up by four, 73-69. Greater Allegheny came right back with a three of their own, and would knot the score at 76-76 with 1:07 remaining.
Winns added a layup, but the Lions' Mike McCarthy hit a three-pointer to give Greater Allegheny a 79-78 lead with 28 seconds left. Fayette worked their final possession around until Cunningham hit the games most important shot, a three-pointer from the top of the key that bounced off the rim twice before falling through, giving the Roaring Lions an 81-79 advantage with 8.5 seconds to play. Greater Allegheny's last gasp fell short, as Fayette escaped with their eighth conference win of the season.
Greater Allegheny outshot Fayette, 48 percent to 38 percent, but the Roaring Lions made 12 three-point field goals on the night. The Roaring Lions used 40 points off the bench, and narrowly outrebounded the Lions 44-43.
Nick Dizon led the Lions with 24 points and McCarthy added 18 points.
The Roaring Lions return to action on Friday, Feb. 10 for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off as they take on Penn State Lehigh Valley. The game will be played at Penn State Brandywine, with Fayette to follow with a match-up with Brandywine on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3:00 p.m. A win in either game qualifies Fayette for the PSUAC Playoffs.