Lemont Furnace, Pa. - Through a 81-51 battle, the #4 seeded Penn State Greater Allegheny men's basketball team overcame the #5 Southern Maine Community College, Thursday afternoon, earning their first United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II Men's Basketball victory in school history.
The last time Greater Allegheny even appeared in the Tournament was in 2006, dropping their first match-up. Head coach Tyler Care marks himself in the record-books as well, as he is one of the only coaches to win a USCAA game as a coach (2017) and player at Beaver (2009).
With the win, Greater Allegheny moves on to play the winner of #1 Berkeley and #8 Villa Maria, set to tip-off just after the men's game.
Sophomore guard Jordon Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) was the first on the board for Greater Allegheny as junior guard Jeremy McMunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills) deposited four points, Payne closing with a layup 8-3. McMunn laid on a three-pointer as Payne slashed two from the foul line. Senior guard Jumanne Butler-McDaniel (Franklin, N.J./Cardinal McCarrick) made a layup as senior guard Moe Alli (Edison, N.J./Cardinal McCarrick) made a layup and one. Sophomore forward George Prota (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) added a layup to move GA over SMCC, 20-7 just nine minutes in.
Prota and junior guard Curtis Newby (Sharon, Pa./Sharon) added foul shots as Payne and McMunn slammed down treys, Greater Allegheny ahead 29-13. Newby, Payne and Butler-McDaniel put up points from the paint, sending the two teams into the break with the Lions leading a staggering 38-17.
McMunn was first in the new half of action with a jumper before Newby, Payne and Butler-McDaniel peppered the Seawolves defense, 48-27. McMunn reigned in a pair of three-pointers split up by a Newby layup, Lions continue to swell. Payne clobbered a trey himself before Newby added four. Butler-McDaniel, Prota and junior guard Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) put up points in the paint to close the game within the final ten minutes of regulation, GA leading 69-38.
Alli lofted a pair of foul shots as Hicks added six straight as freshman guard Connor Paoletti (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) rode out the remainder of regulation with four points, Lions in the drivers seat 81-51.
Newby noted his 15th double-double in his junior year, as the powerhouse denoted 60% (6-of-10) of his shots from the floor with 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and one steal. McMunn posted a game-high 18 points with four three-pointers added alongside four boards and two steals. Payne put up 16 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals while Butler-McDaniel put up 11 points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal.
As a team, Greater Allegheny shot 61.1% (11-of-18) from the foul line and 42.1% (32-of-76) from the floor. The Lions managed to out-rebound SMCC, 57-49, as the men added 42 points in the paint, 19 points off turnovers, 13 points off second-chance and eight off fastbreak. The largest lead of the game came to the Lions with five minutes left in the game, 36 points; the game seeing just two lead changes early in the game.
Penn State Greater Allegheny (23-5, 14-2 PSUAC) looks onward to Friday, as the men play the winner of #1 Berkeley - 26-0 and defending USCAA Division II Champions - and #8 Villa Maria. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. in the Main Arena at Penn State Fayette - Lemont Furnace.
Live stats and live video is available at theuscaa.com