McKeesport, PA. – It was a battle throughout the night, but the Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball Team (15-10, 13-6) didn’t have enough to push through as they fell in the quarterfinals of the Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs to Penn State Shenango (16-9, 13-6) 64-61. PSUGA put up 32 second half points, but it wasn’t enough as their playoff run came to an end.
PSU-Shenango started the game hot scoring the first nine points of the game spanning four minutes to put PSUGA down. They kept things going throughout the first 10 minutes of the game extending their lead to 20-7 with 10 minutes to go. PSUGA would then get back in the game with a 10-2 run that brought the score to 22-17 with 6:33 left before halftime.
PSUGA would slowly fight back over the final 10 minutes of the half outscoring Shenango 11-8 and headed into halftime trailing 30-29. Kenny Rouse (Duquesne, Pa./West Mifflin HS) and Makis Rivera (Pittsburgh, PA./Imani Christian Academy) led the way with six points, but three of PSUGA’s four starters were held off the board as the offense was looking to get back on track in the second half.
PSUGA kept fighting through the first half of the second half getting to within three points of Shenango twice and trailed 43-40 with 12:42 to play. The battle continued to the final minutes of the game as PSUGA trailed 58-54 with 2:33 to play. PSUGA would then go on an 8-3 run that tied things up 61-61 with :22 seconds remaining.
However, Shenango would close out the game scoring the final three points as Larry Ransom Jr. went 1-2 from the free throw line and Russell Gariepy hit a layup to end it and send Shenango to the semifinals. PSUGA leaves the PSUAC playoffs after one round and will look to the offseason to keep improving.
Senior Jordon Payne (McKeesport, PA./McKeesport HS) led the way on offense in what could be his last game in a PSUGA uniform with 18 points on the night. Rivera followed him as the only other PSUGA player who finished in double digits with 14 points. Rivera also led the defensive side of the ball with six rebounds on the night.
PSUGA’s season comes to an end after a series of ups and downs throughout the year. It started with PSUGA going just 1-3 to start conference play, then went to a six game winning streak that got them in competition for one of the top teams in the conference. They secured their fourth straight trip to the PSUAC playoffs before falling in tonight’s game.
PSUGA will now wait and see If they will get a bid to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Tournament. The bids will be announced this Saturday as part of USCAA bid day.