McKeesport, PA. – The United States Collegiate Athletic Association released their weekly coach’s poll rankings late Wednesday night and the Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball team (4-4, 1-3) held their top 20 ranking finishing at number 18 despite a rough week. PSUGA has been featured in the top 20 in every week dating back to last year and are looking to get back to the top 10 where they made their home throughout the 2017-2018 season.
It was a week that saw the team go 0-2 in their two games including a frustrating loss to Penn State Mont Alto on Wednesday 67-54. PSUGA has been unable to capture the offensive magic that saw them put up 120+ points in each of their first two games of the season. However, the defense has played well holding opponents to under 70 points in two of their last three contests garnering them a top 20 spot.
Jordon Payne (McKeesport, PA./McKeesport HS) has been the consistent presence on offense scoring 15 or more points in five of his seven games played this season. He combined to score 25 points over the weekend including a 15-point effort in the loss to Mont Alto. Payne currently ranks second in the conference averaging 18.7 points per game in his senior season and looks to continue to lead PSUGA.
PSUGA’s second game of the week saw them match up with Villa Maria, who finished this week as the top team in the nation according to the poll. Despite jumping out to a 6-0 lead in that game, PSUGA failed to keep the offense going and the high potent Vikings offense put up 93 points in what would be a 93-68 loss for PSUGA.
Senior Mhonte Newsome (Baltimore, Md./Our Lady of Mt. Saint Carmel) had a career day scoring 17-points in the loss marking the best game of his collegiate career. Newsome and Payne were two of the three PSUGA players to finish in double digits on the day. Although PSUGA did score 39 second-half points against the top team in the nation, it wasn’t enough for them to complete the comeback.
PSUGA now sits at 4-4 overall and 1-3 in Penn State University Athletic Conference play as we reach the halfway point of the season. With one more conference game before the break, head coach Tyler Care and his team are looking for some momentum that they can use to propel them into the second half of the season. There is still a lot of basketball left for PSUGA to try and reach the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
Their final first half test comes this Saturday when they take on Penn State DuBois in PSUAC play. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. as PSUGA looks to get back on track before Christmas break.