McKeesport, Pa. - Through two very close games on the road, the Penn State Greater Allegheny dropped a 96-92 decision to Southern Maine Community College on Saturday before slipping under Central Maine Community College, 73-70, in a pair of United States Collegiate Athletic Association contests.
The weekend kicked off with a match against SMCC. Freshman guard Jordan Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) and sophomore forward Curtis Newby (Sharon, Pa./Sharon) both put up layups before Payne showed out with back-to-back three-pointers, GA up quickly 10-2 through four minutes.
Newby posted a jumper before senior guard Jashaun Fontanez (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) drained a three-pointer as Greater Allegheny continued their stride. A layup a piece from Fontanez and sophomore guard Denzel Boyer London (Coatesville, Pa./Coatesville) paved the way to a Boyer-London three-pointer.
Freshman forward Isaiah Fluker (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone) completed a layup as sophomore forward Malik Patterson-Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Roxborough) banked a shot outside the arc, 28-17 with eight minutes left in the first half. Fontanez, Patterson-Brown and sophomore guard Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) all contributed points from the free-throw line as Southern Maine battled their way all the way back to threaten GA's lead, 34-28.
Fontanez marked a trey and a free-throw as Hicks wrapped up the scoring drive for the blue-and-white in the first half, Southern Maine now leading GA 43-40.
SMCC came out hot in the second half as the home team continued to inflate their score. Hicks laid up two points before Payne nailed a pair of three-pointers, closing the gap to four. Newby and Hicks put up a layup a piece before Hicks ties the game at 55 with a jumper.
The home team begins to pull away again before senior forward Tyler Burkhart (Morgantown, Pa./The Kiski School) and Fluker both add points on free-throws. Fontanez, Hicks and Fluker add a string of layups as they find themselves trailing SMCC 74-65. Junior guard Moe Alli (Edison, N.J./Cardinal McCarrick) and Fluker add buckets from the line before Payne drained a three.
With just four minutes left in the game, Curtis landed a jumper and one. Payne comprised of the next four points through regulation as Fontanez dropped the final 15 points for Greater Allegheny. Despite the final push at the end of the game, Southern Maine's lead was too much to overcome, as GA found themselves on the short-end of the stick, 96-93.
Fontanez went 62.5% (10-of-16) from the floor and 77.8% (7-of-9) from the free-throw line, as he added a stand-out 31 points, five steals and three rebounds. Payne earned 21 points, five being outside the arc, with four boards and a steal. Hicks added 12 points while Newby noted nine points and nine rebounds.
Game two came on Sunday to another USCAA opponent, Central Maine CC.
Hicks was the first to get Greater Allegheny on the board before Newby completed a pair of layups, CMCC ahead quickly 12-6. Payne added a jumper and a three-pointer to bring the game within just one point seven minutes into the game. Freshman forward Scott Przybysz (Elderton, Pa./West Shamokin) made a layup before Hicks marked a trey, 16-12 GA.
Payne and Hicks both put down layups before Payne noted another three-pointer, advancing Greater Allegheny to a 23-12 lead. Hicks and Newby add two points a piece before freshman guard Tyrone Johnson (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll) complete two from the free-throw line. Alli completed five points before Hicks shot a three, 37-22. Fluker comprised of the next six points before Payne closed out the first half with a set of free-throws, sending the two teams into halftime GA leading 45-31.
Hicks marked a layup to open the second half before Newby added a free-throw. Payne marked a three-pointer to extend the Lion lead to 51-35 before Greater Allegheny was held silent for seven minutes of the second period. In those seven minutes, Central Maine managed to explode and upend GA for the lead, 53-51.
Fluker, Payne, Alli, Newby and Hicks all add points in the paint for the Lions to climb their way back to the lead. Newby and Payne dropped jumpers to tie the game at 65 with less than five minutes left in regulation. Alli added a layup before Newby put up a layup and one to mark the final points of the Greater Allegheny weekend, Central Maine edging out GA by a three-point margin.
Newby marked his first double-double, as the sophomore put up 14 points and 12 rebounds with five steals, two blocks and an assist. Payne put up 19 points, six boards, six steals and four assists through the battle, playing all 40 minutes in the falter. Hicks assisted Greater Allegheny with 16 points, six assists and four steals through the game.
As a team, Greater Allegheny capped on 24 points on CMCC turnovers while putting up 34 points in the paint and 17 on second chance.
GA (0-3) travel to Carlow on Friday for a non-conference match-up. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.