BUFFALO, N.Y. – A big second half propelled Medaille College to a 92-76 win over the Penn State Altoona men's basketball team in Sunday afternoon's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference matchup in the Sullivan Center.
Penn State Altoona (6-15, 5-10 AMCC) led 46-44 at the half, but Medaille (11-9, 9-4 AMCC) outscored the Lions 48-30 in the second half to prevail by 16 points.
"Another tough one today. Again, I thought we played relatively well for the majority of the game, especially on the offensive end and especially in the first half. But in the second half, Medaille ramped up their defensive intensity and we turned the ball over way too much, and a lot of those led to easy baskets for Medaille," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "Once again, our defense failed us in the second half, and we keep sending teams to the free throw line way too much. The game was physical today, but I guess we were being too physical."
Jack Kusters (Quakertown, PA/Lansdale Catholic) led Penn State Altoona with 14 points. Y'shua Bragg (Pittsburgh, PA/Carrick) added 13 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, and Robbie Hicks (Rockledge, FL/Rockledge) also had 13 points to go along with six boards and a team-best three assists.
Trey Butterworth (Clarence, PA/Bald Eagle) scored a career-high 11 points off the bench for the Lions, and Richard Dei-Kwarteng (Windsor Hill, MD/Standard of Excellence Academy) also came off the bench to score 11 points and secure five rebounds.
"Another solid performance from the young guys, and it was good to see Trey play well in the first half," said McGreal. "We just have to get better defensively and follow the scouting report better, or we are going to continue to struggle."
Kirk Hawkins paced Medaille with 17 points, while Norman Hughes, Kendall McGill, and Cedric Mondjii all scored 16 points off the bench for the Mavericks.
Two layups by Bragg and a jumper from Kusters helped the Lions get out to a 6-2 lead to start the game. Hicks' layup and foul shot at 18:28 put Penn State Altoona up 9-4, and Kusters' basket a minute later made it 11-4.
Penn State Altoona stayed on top midway through the half. A layup from Marshall Higley (Sayre, PA/Sayre) and two Dei-Kwarteng jumpers kept the Lions up by five, 21-16, by the 10:52 mark.
A 6-0 run from Medaille helped the home team nab its first lead of the game by the 9:14 mark, when Jonathan Smith's shot put the Mavericks up 22-21. Later, Brandon Roach converted a four-point play to put the home team ahead 35-31 with 4:54 left in the period.
Penn State Altoona clawed back to retake the lead before the end of the first half. Kusters' three-pointer and two foul shots from Butterworth tied the score 40-40 by 2:16, and a pair of Butterworth treys pushed the Lions into the lead, 46-43, with 48 seconds to go.
Medaille closed out the first half scoring with a free throw from Hawkins.
But Penn State Altoona was outscored by 18 in the second half. The Lions were hurt by committing 13 turnovers during the period, compared to Medaille's five.
Bragg's three-pointer at 19:12 put Penn State Altoona up 49-46. Midway through the period, layups from Dei-Kwarteng and Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) gave the Lions a 61-60 lead. After Medaille jumped ahead by five, Hicks hit from three-point range and also connected on a two-point jumper to tie the score at 66 by 10:53.
However, Medaille finished the game on a 26-10 run from that point on. Hughes' three-pointer at 10:36 broke the 66-66 tie, and he connected from three-point range again one minute later to make it a six-point game. A layup from Sean Wilson and a trio of free throws by Hughes upped Medaille's lead to 77-66 with eight minutes to play, and two free throws and a layup from McGill made it 81-66 by 7:13.
Penn State Altoona was unable to get any closer than 11 points the rest of the way, as Medaille maintained its double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
Men's basketball's next game is at home this Wednesday, February 6, when the Lions will host Grove City College of the Presidents' Athletic Conference for a 7:00 p.m. game in the Adler Arena. The game marks the team's second annual Brian Morden Foundation event, supporting the fight against cancer.