La Roche Downs Lions 87-59

Photo: Penn State Altoona senior forward Dequan Jackson scored 17 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in Saturday's loss at La Roche.
Photo: Penn State Altoona senior forward Dequan Jackson scored 17 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in Saturday's loss at La Roche.

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Penn State Altoona men's basketball was overpowered by Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference foe La Roche College on Saturday afternoon, as the Lions lost 87-59 on Coach Scott Lang Court at the Kerr Fitness Center.

Penn State Altoona (8-5, 4-2 AMCC) struggled to get anything going at either end of the floor. On offense, the Lions were limited to a 36.1% field goal percentage. Defensively, they allowed La Roche to put up 87 points on a 59.3% field goal success rate.

"Disappointing effort from us today. We've got to tip our caps to La Roche coach Hermie Carmichael and his team," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "They were ready for us and came out on fire. They punched us right in the mouth, we took it, and we never really had an answer for them. Aside from stretches where we played good basketball, it was an overall poor performance from our team."

Ishimeal Nance (Muscle Shoals, AL/Muscle Shoals) led the Lions in scoring with 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists. Dequan Jackson (Philadelphia, PA/Murrell Dobbins) added 17 points, eight rebounds, and two steals.

La Roche (8-5, 5-1 AMCC) got a game-high 27 points from Ray Quan Phifer, as well as 21 points from Trell Thomas. Zach Gould chipped in 12 points and six assists.

The Redhawks opened the game on a 10-0 run, getting a pair of three-pointers from Thomas during that stretch while keeping Penn State Altoona off of the scoreboard until a pair of free throws by Jackson at 16:31.

Baskets from Tre' Brown (Winchester, VA/John Handley), Jackson, and Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) kept the deficit at 10 points for Penn State Altoona, making it 18-8 by the 14:47 mark. Jackson's layup at 13:45 made it a nine-point game, 21-12.

But La Roche continued to click on offense. Jumpers from Arnes Bajgora and Darrell Barron upped the home team's lead to 27-12 by 8:15, and Barron's layup at 6:08 gave the Redhawks a 17-point lead, 29-12. Layups from Dion Etheridge and Thomas closed out the period, helping La Roche to a 37-23 halftime lead.

The Redhawks improved on their performance in the first half by putting up 50 points in the second half, during which they shot 62.5% as a team. They went on to lead by as many as 29 points in the period, which occurred on Phifer's three-pointer at 11:11.

Next up, Penn State Altoona men's basketball will look to regroup for its home game against nearby AMCC rival Mount Aloysius College on Wednesday, January 10. Tipoff of that game is set for 6:00 p.m. in the Adler Arena.

"We have to understand that, if we want to be one of the top teams in the league, we're going to get everybody's best effort. We weren't ready for that today," said McGreal. "Now we have our sights set on an improving Mount Aloysius team. We have to be ready to play that game, or else the same thing that happened to us today will happen then."