By: Frank Maira, Assistant Director of Athletics/Sports Information Director
MONT ALTO, Pa. – Hosting its second consecutive PSUAC Semifinals, the Penn State Mont Alto men's basketball team had unfinished business from a season ago and held on within the last minute to knock off No. 2 seed in the East, PSU Wilkes-Barre. Mont Alto downed the visitors 62-61 on Friday night and now advance to the championship game at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Nittany Lions are advancing to its first conference championship since the 2015-16 season, which saw Mont Alto best Penn State Fayette for the title in the Bryce Jordan Center under head coach Jack Schenzel.
Inside the Box Score
- The game featured six ties and five different lead changes with neither team able to go up by more than three scores. PSUMA shot just 33.3% from the field and 5-of-22 from downtown, but outrebounded the visitors by a 49-39 margin. Senior guard Marcus Roper (Charlestown, W.Va. / Jefferson) poured in a game-high 18 points including a 3-pointer that put his team up with 51 seconds remaining.
- The inside combination of John Teague (Hagerstown, Md. / North Hagerstown) and JR Powe (Frederick, Md. / Thomas Johnson) scored 16 and 12 points apiece. Both managed double-doubles.
- Quintyn Flemister (Harrisburg, Pa. / Harrisburg) had a huge defensive effort leading his team in rebounds with 14, which included six offensive boards. The junior guard sacrificed his body on numerous occasions as his team drew nine charge calls, which resulted in Wilkes-Barre turnovers.
- Mont Alto forced 17 Wilkes-Barre miscues as Kevin Silverberg shot 3-of-6 from downtown for 16 points.
How it Happened
- It was a game of runs as both teams surged back and forth through the first eight minutes. Down 24-13, Mont Alto scored 10-straight to grab the lead on a drained 3-pointer from Marcus Roper (Charlestown, W.Va. / Jefferson). On the ensuing possession he hit a reverse layup to put PSUMA up 26-25.
- Neither team went up by more than a basket with Mont Alto going into halftime up 32-31.
- Physical play picked up in the second half and Mont Alto was able to surge ahead (44-37) again thanks to a 12-6 run in the opening 5:05. Mont Alto went up 59-52 after a Teague layup. Wilkes-Barre clamped it's defense down at tied it up at 59 points apiece with 2:59 left.
- Tough defense electrified the crowd. Roper's clutch trey that put his team up 62-59 with under a minute left proved to be the decisive bucket.
Mont Alto will look for win No. 24 of the 2019-20 season on Sunday when it looks to capture the second conference championship under Coach Schenzel. Game time from the Bryce Jordan Center is slated for 1:30 p.m. and there will be live stats and a live video stream of the championship on the Mont Alto men's basketball schedule page.