The Pitt-Bradford men’s basketball team dropped a hard
fought defensive battle to the Penn State Behrend Lions, 69-57, on Thursday,
Jan. 23. Despite having four players score in double figures, the Panthers were
unable to generate enough offensive production to outlast the Lions.
Senior Brandon McClester finished with a team-high 13 points
and three rebounds. Junior Tyler Fantaskey was close behind with 11 points and
one rebound. The strong effort by Fantaskey marked his fifth-straight
performance scoring in double figures.
Sophomore Eric Matheson ended his night with 10 points, four
rebounds and one assist, while freshman Zach Smith tallied 10 points and four
Pitt-Bradford (9-8, 5-5) left little doubt that it came to
play after putting the first points on the board and controlling the momentum
of the game for the first several minutes of play.
The Panthers owned the lead for the first eight minutes of
action. At that time, the Lions’ Mike Knoll landed a basket off a short jumper
that gave Penn State Behrend its first lead of the game, 10-9.
That lead was short lived as Smith nailed a three-point
shot. He then grabbed a steal and landed yet another three-point shot just
moments later. The back-to-back triples gave the Panthers a small lead for
The Lions were able to string together several points to
steal the lead from the Panthers with just five minutes remaining in the first
half. Matheson, McClester and Fantaskey each finished the first half with
buckets for the Panthers to bring the score to a 25-25 tie as the teams headed
to the locker room.
Pitt-Bradford finished the first half shooting 29 percent
from the floor, including 40 percent from behind the arc. The Panthers were
3-of-4 from the line.
The Lions shot 39.3 percent from the field, including just
12.5 percent from behind the three-point line. They were 2-of-4 from the
Penn State Behrend (14-2, 8-1) opened the scoring in the second
half with back-to-back free-throw attempts on a Colton Holzwarth foul.
McClester drew his own foul just seconds later and connected
on both free-throw shots to bring the score back to even.
The momentum seemed to shift in the Lions’ favor following
the free-throw attempts from McClester. Penn State Behrend’s offense found its
rhythm and the Panthers would not lead for the remainder of the contest.
Although Pitt-Bradford fell behind, it never seemed to lose
control. With 9:53 remaining in the game, the Panthers forced a tie before the
Lions were able to begin to build a lead. Penn State Behrend inched its way to
a 10-point advantage with just 46 seconds left in regulation.
The time left was not enough for a comeback attempt by the
Panthers, and a dunk by Shane Skelly for the Lions finished the game and
equaled the final score.
“They are a very good team and against very good teams you
have to take advantage of every opportunity,” said head coach Britt Moore. “We
couldn’t secure the defensive rebounds consistently and missed layup
The Panthers finished the night shooting 33.9 percent from
the floor, including 31.9 percent from behind the arc. They were 14-of-20 from
the charity stripe.
Penn State Behrend ended the game shooting 47.1 percent from
the floor, including 23.5 percent from behind the three-point line. The Lions
were 17-of-24 from the free-throw line.
Pitt-Bradford returns to the hardwood on Saturday, Jan. 25.
The Panthers travel to Altoona, Pa., to take on Penn State Altoona at 1 p.m.