Sharon, PA. – It came down to the final minutes of Tuesday’s Penn State University Athletic Conference opener, but the Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball Team (3-1, 0-1) fell to Penn State Shenango (2-3, 1-0) 67-64. PSUGA was struggling to find their groove in the first half and were never able to fully recover as they take their first loss of the season.
After falling behind early, PSUGA battled back to take a 55-54 lead with 5:30 to go in the contest thanks to two free throws from Makis Rivera (Pittsburgh, PA./Imani Christian Academy). Just one minute later, Sheanngo answered and the game was knotted up at 59-59 with four minutes left in the game.
Shenango opened the lead to 64-60 thanks to a 5-1 run forcing PSUGA to go into catch up more over the final two and a half minutes of regulation. Shenango would score one final three pointer with four seconds remaining to officially put the game out of reach and help Shenango secure their first ever PSUAC win.
Early on, it looked like it was going to be a much different game as PSU-Shenango jumped out to an early 18-6 lead thanks to a 10-0 run that put PSUGA in a hole. However, the offense battled and tied things up at 23-23 with 10 minutes to go in the first half. A couple big threes at the end of the half would give Shenango a 33-29 lead heading into the break before they completed the victory.
Kenny Rouse (Duquesne, PA./West Mifflin HS) led the way for PSUGA with 17 points on the night and Rivera turned in his best game with a season high 12 points in the loss. Rouse led the defense with four rebounds and Juwan Ledbetter (Pittsburgh, PA./Allderdice) picked up three assists in his first start of the season.
The loss drops PSUGA to 0-1 in PSUAC play for the first time in head coach Tyler Care’s five-year PSUGA career. However, there is still plenty of time for PSUGA to bounce back as they continue down the road to their possible fourth consecutive PSUAC playoff appearance. With 18 more conference games ahead and a big match-up looming with Shenango in February, PSUGA has plenty of time to make the necessary adjustments.
Tyler Care and his team return to conference play this weekend when they start a two-game weekend stint against PSU-Hazleton and PSU-Schuylkill on Friday and Saturday. Tip-off for Friday’s game is scheduled for 8 p.m. while Saturday tips off at 3 p.m.