ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona men's basketball suffered an 80-46 loss to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Penn State Behrend on Saturday afternoon in the Adler Arena.
Playing without starting guard Jalen Archie-Davis, the Lions (6-12, 5-7 AMCC) struggled to get into a rhythm on offense. Defensively, the team was plagued by the three-pointer, as Behrend (17-2, 10-2 AMCC) connected on 13 of its 32 attempts from beyond the arc.
"We were terrible today in all facets," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "Not having Jalen is not an excuse for missing free throws, layups, and defensive assignments all day long. Behrend played well and took advantage of all of those things. We make no excuses – we played awful, and we deserved to lose."
Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) led Penn State Altoona with eight points and six rebounds. Trey Butterworth (Clarence, PA/Bald Eagle) added seven points – including going 2-for-3 from three-point range – and Tyson West (Wheeling, WV/Linsly School) scored six points.
Behrend got a game-high 21 points from Andy Niland, while Nolan Nuara came off the bench to score 16 points and grab five rebounds. Mike Fischer added 11 points and six rebounds, and Justin Gorny scored 10 points while grabbing a game-high seven boards.
Penn State Altoona led early, as layups from Gardner-Nicholson and West and a three-pointer from Jack Kusters (Quakertown, PA/Lansdale Catholic) helped the Lions to a 7-3 lead just over three minutes into the game. After Behrend jump ahead, another basket from Gardner-Nicholson and a free throw by Austin Krise (Allport, PA/West Branch) cut the visitors' lead to one, 11-10.
But Behrend's defense clamped down for the rest of the first half, limiting Penn State Altoona to just 10 points in the final 12:49 of the opening period.
On offense, Behrend capitalized by building a double-digit lead. Gorny's tip-in basket at 9:18 gave his team a 21-10 lead, and Niland's trey a minute later made it 24-13. A layup by Gorny and two baskets from Fischer helped Behrend to a 35-20 lead by the intermission.
Behrend kept it going in the second half and broke the game open, leading by as many as 34 points. Niland's three-pointer at 17:17 gave the visitors a 21-point lead, 43-22, and he connected from beyond the arc again at 11:10 to make it a 23-point game, 57-34. Nuara's trey at 8:47 increased Behrend's lead to 63-38, and Fischer's layup at 5:59 put his team up by 26 points, 67-41. Nathan Schneider's three-point play with 40 seconds left gave the visitors an 80-46 lead.
"We have to get ready for three tough conference games next week," said McGreal. "We have to regroup and figure out a way to win if we want to make it to the conference tournament."
Penn State Altoona men's basketball starts an important three-game stretch of AMCC road games on Wednesday, January 30 at 8:00 p.m., when the Lions will travel to face conference opponent Pitt-Greensburg.