ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona men's basketball started its Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference schedule on Wednesday night in the Adler Arena, and the Lions were defeated 79-67 by rival Mount Aloysius College.
Penn State Altoona (1-5, 0-1 AMCC) got off to a sluggish start and struggled to find consistency on offense throughout the game. Meanwhile, Mount Aloysius (3-3, 1-0 AMCC) took advantage of trips to the foul line, capitalizing for 35 points on 47 free throw attempts.
"Mount played their game plan to a T, and we were not able to knock down any shots with consistency," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "How do you expect to win a game when the other team has 47 free throw attempts, with over 30 in one half? I know we did foul some, but I've never been in a game where the officials totally took over in the second half."
Shevelle Bailey (Titusville, FL/Titusville) led Penn State Altoona in scoring with 16 points, and he added four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Austin Krise (Allport, PA/West Branch) finished with 15 points and grabbed three boards.
Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) secured a game-high 13 rebounds and blocked a game-high two shots, and he also scored six points. Jalen Archie-Davis (Norcross, GA/Norcross) dished out a team-high five assists, tied for the team lead in steals with two, and scored seven points.
Mount Aloysius' Julian Stover led all players in scoring with 23 points, including a 19-for-23 performance from the free throw line. Carlos Palacios scored 20 points, Imrane Amadou added 16 points and eight rebounds, and Trent McErlane put up 10 points.
The Lions' offense was limited to a 29.4% field goal percentage during a low-scoring first half.
Mount Aloysius got out to a 6-0 lead by the 18:03 mark on two layups from Amadou and another from Tommy Pisula. A layup and a three-pointer from Palacios helped the Mounties increase their lead to 11-3 by 15:31, and a McErlane free throw at 14:34 made it 12-6.
Penn State Altoona used a 7-0 run to leap ahead. Archie-Davis' basket and foul shot started the rally, and Y'Shua Bragg (Pittsburgh, PA/Carrick) followed with a layup. An Archie-Davis layup at 13:00 put the Lions up 13-12.
But Mount Aloysius got back on top at 12:04 on Palacios' put-back basket, and the Mounties never trailed for the remainder of the first half. Another three-pointer from Palacios at 4:20 gave his team a 30-25 advantage, and Stover's bucket at 2:18 made it 32-25.
Danny Browne (Downingtown, PA/Bishop Shanahan) hit a three-pointer at 1:51 for Penn State Altoona, cutting Mount Aloysius' lead to 32-28 – a score that proved to hold true by halftime.
The Lions started the second half by outscoring the Mounties 6-1 in the first three-and-a-half minutes. Krise connected on a three-pointer, Marshall Higley (Sayre, PA/Sayre) made a layup, and Bailey sunk a free throw to put Penn State Altoona up 34-33 by 16:33. Later, layups from Bragg and Bailey gave the home team a 38-36 advantage at 14:18.
But the Mounties tied the score on two Amadou free throws at 13:57, then used Stover's three-point play at 13:19 to grab a 41-38 lead. After Palacios' three-pointer at 12:56 made it 44-40, McErlane and Stover combined to go 4-for-4 from the line at 11:44 following a shooting foul and a technical foul.
Down 48-42 at that point, the Lions responded with a jumper by Malcolm Martin (Chicago, IL/Chicago Vocational) jumper, a trey from Nate Gillen (Johnstown, PA/Central Cambria), and a layup by Krise to go up 49-48 by 10:19.
But McErlane's foul shots at 9:45 put Mount Aloysius up 50-49, and the visitors never trailed again. An Amadou layup and two Josiah Jones free throws made it 54-49 by 8:47, and six more foul shots from Stover helped the Mounties boost their lead to 60-52 by 6:30.
Another bucket from Amadou at 4:03 gave Mount Aloysius a 70-55 advantage, and free throws from Amadou and McErlane helped the visitors to their largest lead of the night, 72-55, with 3:04 to play.
A three-pointer and a layup from Trey Butterworth (Clarence, PA/Bald Eagle) pulled Penn State Altoona to within 12 points, 74-62, with 2:26 remaining, but the Lions were unable to get any closer the rest of the period.
Mount Aloysius posted a 51-34 advantage in rebounds and held a 20-7 lead in second chance points, while Penn State Altoona posted a 32-24 advantage in points in the paint. Turnovers were tied at 15 apiece.
Next, Penn State Altoona men's basketball hits the road to play AMCC opponent La Roche College this Saturday, December 1 at 4:00 p.m.
"No time to rest. We face one of the best teams in the league Saturday on the road at La Roche," said McGreal. "We've got to be ready to play."