McKeesport, Pa. – It has been a hot start to the 2017/2018 season for the Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball Team (4-0,0-0). They are off to their best start in program history winning their first four games of the season and their offense has been on fire putting up more than 100 points twice in the team’s first four games of the season averaging 93.0 points per game.
However, they will be put to the test once again on Wednesday as they face off against their second Division II opponent of the season when they do battle with the Clarion Golden Eagles (1-1, 0-0) at 7 p.m. PSUGA picked up their first ever win against a Division II opponent earlier in the season when they beat Point Park 82-77 inside the Wunderly Gymnasium.
PSUGA has been getting it done offensively this season and coming through especially in key moments in the ball game. The leader of this offense has been junior Jordon Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport). He scored a season high 25 points his last time out against Penn Highlands and has scored at least 17 points or more in every game so far this season. Payne was last season’s points per game leader at 14.2 and currently, he leads PSUGA through the first four games of the season averaging 20.0 PPG through four contests.
Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) has also been getting it done offensively. He eclipsed the 1,000-Point mark in his career with his 16-point effort against Point Park last Wednesday and is third on the team averaging 10.0 points per game.
However, PSUGA is not only getting contributions from their starting five, but from the rest of the team as well. Kenny Rouse (Duquesne, Pa./West Mifflin) and Makis Rivera (Pittsburgh, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) are each averaging over 10 points per game off the bench and each are over five rebounds a game as Rouse has 7.8 and Rivera has 6.0.
PSUGA is going to have to keep playing their best basketball of the season against another Division II opponent. Clarion is off to a 1-1 start to their season coming off a home win against Fayetteville State University on Saturday 81-76. Clarion comes into the contest averaging 88 PPG, however, they have also given up 93.5 PPG.
These two teams have met up one time before when Clarion defeated PSUGA last season 92-76. PSUGA would fall behind early in that game trailing 44-29 at halftime and just did not have enough time to come back in the end. Jordon Payne had a big game scoring 16 points while Curtis Newby (Sharon, Pa./Sharon HS) picked up 12 rebounds. Payne and Newby would tie for the team lead with four assists on the day.
This is the first of eight straight road games for PSUGA following a string of four home games to start the season. Last year on the road, PSUGA would finish 8-4 compared to a 10-1 record at home. They are looking to continue the success they have seen early in the season as they try to defend their 2016/17 PSUAC Championship.
Wednesday’s contest is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Tippin Gym on the campus of Clarion University.