Panthers rout Altoona 95-68

Junior Guard Keith Burgess

The Pitt-Bradford men’s basketball team exploded in the second half of Saturday afternoon’s showdown with Penn State Altoona to cruise to a 95-68 win. The Panthers dropped 52 points in the second half alone to run away with the victory. Pitt-Bradford had four players score in double figures.

Junior guard Keith Burgess led all Panthers with 21 points, three rebounds and three assists. Despite not starting, and missing the first several minutes of action, Burgess entered the game on a mission and it wasn’t long before he found his comfort zone and cashed in on strong finishes.

Freshman guard Zach Smith finished with 18 points, four rebounds and one assist. Senior guard Brandon McClester had 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. And sophomore guard Eric Matheson left the court with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Pitt-Bradford (4-3, 1-1) began the contest rather sluggish and seemed surprised by the intensity and fierce attack shown by the Lions. The first half remained knotted throughout, with each team taking turns finding the bucket.

The Lions were able to open up a 24-13 lead before the Panthers settled in, and with ten minutes to go in the first half, made things interesting.

The two teams headed to the locker room at the break with Pitt-Bradford leading 43-36. The Panthers drained 53 percent of their shots from the floor in the first half and 3-of-4 from the free throw line. The Lions shot 48 percent from the floor and hit 6-of-8 from the charity stripe.

Altoona (2-7, 0-4) hit the court running in the second half in an attempt to bring the game within reach. However, each time the Lions found their way to the basket, the Panthers were there to respond at the other end.

With just over three minutes remaining in the contest, Pitt-Bradford established a 30-point lead at 90-60. It was at this time that head coach Britt Moore allowed his starters to rest and brought in the reserves.

Pitt-Bradford was able to close out a monster win in front of the home crowd and head into the break on a high note.

“I thought we started very slow but played well for the final 30 minutes,” said Moore. “We really took some pride on defense and that led to some easy transition baskets. It’s good to get back to even in the league and go to break on a victory.”

The Panthers now enter the holiday season and do not return to action until Sunday, Dec. 29, when they travel to Reading, Pa., to take part in the Albright Tournament. Pitt-Bradford opens the first round against Farmingdale State at 2 p.m.