McKeesport, Pa. – Two of the top teams in the Penn State University Athletic Conference met on Friday night as the Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball Team (17-6, 11-3) faced off against Penn State Wilkes Barre (15-8, 11-4). It came down to the buzzer, but PSUGA pulled out the victory 45-44.
After battling back and forth all night long the score was tied 41-41 with one minute to go in regulation. PSUGA would make the first move going ahead 43-41 on a jumper by Curtis Newby (Sharon, Pa./Sharon HS), but Wilkes Barre would retake the lead just five seconds later when Kevin Silverberg hit a three-pointer to bring the score back to 44-43. After a missed shot by Jordan Payne, Silverberg fouled and George Prota (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) came to the free throw line.
Prota nailed his two free throws to make it 45-44 with seven seconds to go. Silverberg had one last effort to try and give his team the win putting up a 20-footer at the buzzer, but it fell short and PSUGA picked up their 11th conference win of the season. With the win, they now hold sole possession of the #2 seed in the PSUAC playoff race.
It was the lowest scoring game of the season for either team with neither going over 50 points. Jordan Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) was one of only two players in the game to score in double digits leading PSUGA with 10 points on the day. The only other player in double digits was Wilkes-Barre’s Jordan Williams who scored 15 points on the day.
Newby led the way with 11-rebounds on the day and fell just short of his 14th double-double of the season scoring nine points on the day. Defense has been a focus of this team in the second half, and they had to play exceptional defense to pick up the win .
PSUGA was able to defy the odds after falling behind 26-19 at halftime. They fought back to score 26 second half points and their defense held Wilkes-Barre to 18 points to pick up the win. Juwan Ledbetter (Pittsburgh, Pa./Taylor Alderdice) and Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) led the way on defense forcing PSU-Wilkes Barre into making turnovers.
With the win, PSUGA goes a long way to guaranteeing themselves a first round bye in the PSUAC playoffs. If they get the first round bye, they would play their first playoff game on Saturday February 17th at Penn State Brandywine for the PSUAC Semi-final round. Last season, they had the first round bye and were able to ride that all the way to the PSUAC Championship.
PSUGA is back in action today when they face off with Penn State Worthington Scranton at 3 p.m. It will be the second half of a Men’s and Women’s basketball Double header.