Wilkes-Barre Upsets Beaver to Advance to PSUAC Championship game
The PSUAC Men's Conference Championship final four game between Beaver and Wilkes Barre got off to a strong start as soon as the tip went up at 6:03 pm, at the Mont Alto campus. Beaver's Chris Weathers was the first to put points on the board with a layup even though Wilkes Barre won the tip. Beaver jumped out to a 13-6 lead with their full court pressure defense, making Wilkes Barre call the first time out of the game at 15:06.
Wilkes Barre came out strong, but Beaver continued with their success as well. Wilkes Barre Drew Walker hit a three to get them to a 23-15. Beaver's Nick Miller then hit a pair of free throws due to a technical foul on Wilkes Barre Coach Scott Miner because of a foul during a three point shot by Tony Houghton. Matt Clemons from Wilkes Barre then hit a three, and teammate Frank Peters came back with a layup to make it 33-25, Beaver still leading. Keith Johnson from Wilkes Barre then made his own mark in the first half saga as he hit a three to bring Wilkes within seven with 1:35 to go. Wilkes Barre finally brought it to within five to end the half down 42-35.
The second half would bring even more excitement as both Wilkes Barre and Beaver's defense came out as strong as ever to start. Wilkes Barre stole the ball to open the half, and Walker drilled a three to get them started, and that it is just what it was, a start. Keith Johnson and Travis Dunlap then hit threes to bring Wilkes Barre within three. A technical was called on Johnson which Beaver's Nick Miller capitalized on with a made free throw then an ensuing three pointer to put his team back up 55-51.
Wilkes Barre then hit a run. With three pointers from Mensah, Walker, and Clemons Wilkes Barre took a 65-57 lead. The Beaver defense was not done playing however, and it grabbed some key steals by Darius Prince and Julian Taylor who made some quick buckets to bring them back within four. Beaver's Chris Weather's then grabbed a big offensive rebound, and got fouled, going to the line hitting both free throws. Wilkes Barre then picked up another foul to put Nick Miller on the line making both free throws as well to bring Beaver within two, 73-72. Within a few minutes Nick Miller hit two three pointers in a row to put his team up by one, but Wilkes Barre would fight back with their own Jacob Bronder making a bucket, getting fouled, and hitting the free throw to go back up 80-78.
Beaver's Tony Houghton then makes a straight four points to put his team back up by two. With one minute remaining Beaver still leads by one, but Wilkes Barre's defense stepped up again to make the steal, and the go ahead bucket. After a series of free throws from both teams Wilkes Barre's Frank Peters makes another great steal, but misses both free throws from the foul by Nick Miller.
With 2.9 seconds remaining Beaver calls a timeout to set up their final play, down by three, 86-83. Nick Miller put up a last second shot, but to no avail as Wilkes Barre defeats the 3 time defending Conference Champions to make it to their own Conference Championship appearance.
Beaver's Nick Miller led all scorers with 26 points, shooting 11 of 12 from the charity stripe, adding 5 assists, and 4 steals. Beaver had four other players in double figure scoring. Wilkes Barre was led by Denzel Mensah's 16 point, 6 steal performance. Wilkes Barre also had four other players in double figure scoring to advance them to tomorrows PSUAC Conference Championship game.