Lamont Furnace, Pa. – After being eliminated in the Quarterfinal Round of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Tournament, the Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball Team moved to the consolation bracket where they faced #2 seed Central Penn on Friday. After falling behind early in the game, PSUGA was never able to recover dropping the contest 95-81.
After playing a triple overtime game the night before, PSUGA came out a little tired and Central Penn had all the momentum to start the game. They jumped out to a 20-7 lead seven minutes into the half before PSUGA could get a consistent offensive drive going. The knights were able to string together 5-0 runs to help open up their lead to as much as 43-19.
PSUGA and Central Penn would trade the final six points of the half and the Knights would go into the locker rooms leading 55-33. Jordon Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) hit one of the team’s four first half three-pointers to give himself seven points while Koran Flemming (Pittsburgh, Pa./Westinghouse HS) put up four points coming off the bench.
PSUGA found their first string of offensive consistency to start the second half scoring eight of the first 14 points to cut the lead to 61-40. Central Penn would then respond with a 13-5 run to extend their lead to 74-45 with 10 minutes left in the game. Head Coach Tyler Care would then call a timeout and try to come up with a formula to get his team back in the game.
He was able to do just that as PSUGA went on a massive 25-5 run to climb all the way back in the game and cut the Central Penn lead to just 79-70 with 6:34 left in the game. Kenny Rouse (Duquesne, Pa./West Mifflin) broke out during the run scoring 17 of his teams 25 points including four three-pointers. Rouse stepped up in a big way this season after transferring from Penn State New Kensington and has provided an offensive weapon to help Payne.
Central Penn would close out the game, however, going on a 9-2 run to put the game out of reach 92-75 with three minutes remaining. PSUGA put up six more points over the final three minutes of play but were never able to catch Central Penn falling 95-81.
With his big performance during the run, Rouse finished the day with a team leading 19 points while Payne finished with 15 points. The bench contributed 54 of the teams 81 points on the day and was instrumental in helping PSUGA back into the ball game. George Prota (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) led the team with five rebounds on the day while scoring seven points.
PSUGA ends their season losing their final three games, however, it has been a historic season for the program. Records were broken both as a team and for many individual players on this year’s squad. This group of seniors will go down as one of the best and most decorated groups in PSUGA history. Between the three seniors, Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy), Curtis Newby (Sharon, Pa./Sharon HS) and Jeremy McMunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills HA), they hold six program records, have been part of a PSUAC championship, and have made it to the USCAA National Tournament for the first time in school history. They have helped to change the culture of the PSUGA Men’s Basketball program from losing year in and year out to competing for the conference championship now and for many years to come.