Panthers stage 22-point rally, shock Altoona in overtime

Down by 22 early in the second half to Penn State Altoona, the Pitt-Bradford men's basketball team stormed back to tie the game in the final seconds and eventually won 76-67 in overtime Saturday.

The Lions led 47-29 at halftime after shooting 55 percent from the floor in the opening stanza and hitting seven three-pointers, including banking one in from nearly 27 feet as time expired.

Altoona would push the lead to 22 on Jonathan Ross' layup three minutes into the second half. Trailing by 19, Jesse DeLoof drilled a three with 11:54 remaining to spark a run of 14 unanswered points by the Panthers.

The Lions would go without a field goal for more than seven minutes, and Tyler Ferguson's jumper with 6:34 left drew Pitt-Bradford within three at 59-56. With less than two minutes remaining, Keith Burgess converted a pair of free throws to inch the Panthers closer at 64-62.

Altoona missed a three-pointer on its ensuing possession, but Burgess was whistled for traveling after driving the lane with 48 seconds remaining. The Lions worked the shot clock inside 20 seconds only to miss a jumper from 15 feet. Burgess grabbed the rebound and threw the ball up ahead to Justin Quiggle in transition yet his shot was blocked.

Out of a timeout, DeLoof connected with Ferguson on a set out-of-bounds play, who laid it in with seven seconds remaining to even the score at 64. The Lions failed to register a shot and the game shifted to overtime.

The Panthers scored the first four points of the extra frame only to see Altoona close the lead to one with 2:30 remaining. Lucas Pichette scored in the lane on the next play, and Pitt-Bradford held the Lions scoreless the rest of the time to pull away for a comfortable nine-point victory.

Over the final 17 minutes of regulation and the duration of overtime, the Panthers held Altoona to just five made field goals, outscoring the Lions 45-14 during that stretch.

Pitt-Bradford only shot 41 percent from the floor, but held a 53-35 advantage on the boards. The Panthers hit six three-pointers and scored 14 second-chance points.

Altoona finished the game shooting less than 40 percent and was just 7-16 from the charity stripe. In comparison, Pitt-Bradford went 18-23 from the line.

Burgess established a new career-high with 27 points, including going a perfect 10-10 from the line. Ferguson added a double-double of 16 points and 19 rebounds, and DeLoof chipped in with 11 points. Pichette had eight points and nine rebounds off the bench.

It was the team's biggest second-half comeback since rallying from 19 down against Juniata earlier in the season to win in double-overtime.

"I'm really proud of the guys for battling back and getting the win," said head coach Britt Moore. "I challenged our older players at halftime and they responded. We were two different teams in each half, and we need the second-half team the rest of the season."

Pitt-Bradford, which snapped its four-game losing streak in the process, improves to 8-9 overall and 3-7 in the AMCC. The Panthers travel to Pitt-Greensburg next Saturday.