Lemont Furnace, Pa. - Through a treacherous semi-final contest of the 2016-17 United States Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Division II Basketball Championship, a combined 50 personal fouls and six technical fouls resulted in a Penn State Greater Allegheny unravel, 74-60.
Greater Allegheny jumped out to a staggering 17-8 lead over the #1 returning USCAA Division II Champions. Major contributions by sophomore forward George Prota (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward), sophomore guard Jordon Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) and junior guard Jeremy McMunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills).
Payne reigned down with another three-pointer to continue the GA flex. McMunn netted a jumper as Berkeley continued to complete shots. Berkeley worked their way all the way back, Berkeley ahead 24-22. Prota added a jumper before senior guard Denzel Boyer-London (Coatesville, Pa./Coatesville) matched him. Boyer-London added two from the foul line before senior forward Moe Alli (Edison, N.J./Cardinal McCarrick) added the last bucket of the half, Greater Allegheny now trailing 41-30.
Senior forward Jumanne Butler-McDaniel (Franklin, N.J./Cardinal McCarrick) put up the first eight points of the second half as Berkeley swelled to 49-38 in just six minutes of action. Payne and junior guard Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) drained points from the foul line as Payne finished off a three-pointer, 57-44 BK.
McMunn drained eight points as freshman guard Duane Tymous (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) and Hicks downed layups, 64-56.
Alli added a layup as Payne finished the final game of the 2016-17 season with a good layup, Berkeley surviving and advancing to the championship game, 74-60.
Payne placed a game-high 20 points with three boards, three assists and two steals. McMunn added 13 points with 100% (4-of-4) of his foul shots sinking along with three boards, an assist and a steal. Butler-McDaniel also cashed in 100% (4-of-4) from the foul line with eight points, seven rebounds and an assist.
As a team, Greater Allegheny was out-rebounded 42-34 as the men managed 59.1% (13-of-22) from the foul line and 39.6% (21-of-53) from the floor. The Lions added 21 points off turnovers, 20 points in the paint and 12 fast break points. The Lions earned zero points on second-chance compared to Berkeley's 13.
Greater Allegheny (23-6, 14-2 PSUAC) finishes their season with a PSUAC Championship, an USCAA Conference win and a 20+ win season.
Congratulations, Lions, on your hard-work and perseverance through the season.