Lions Prevail 104-101 Against Keystone in Overtime

Photo (by Tim Belardi): Penn State Altoona senior guard/forward Ishimeal Nance goes up for a dunk during Sunday's win over Keystone College in the Adler Arena.
Photo (by Tim Belardi): Penn State Altoona senior guard/forward Ishimeal Nance goes up for a dunk during Sunday's win over Keystone College in the Adler Arena.

ALTOONA, Pa. - Penn State Altoona men's basketball earned its third consecutive win on Sunday afternoon, defeating non-conference opponent Keystone College 104-101 in overtime at the Adler Arena.

The Lions (3-2) led by as many as 16 points in the game, but a late rally by the visitors sent the contest into overtime. Penn State Altoona edged Keystone by three points in the five-minute overtime period, however, to secure the win.

"Another exciting win for us. I'm very proud of the guys for hanging in there and fighting against a very talented and athletic Keystone bunch, who came in here and played very well," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "We were able to make enough plays down the stretch in overtime to come away with the victory, after really almost handing them a win in regulation."

Rich Bouknight (Norristown, PA/Norristown) led Penn State Altoona in scoring with 20 points to go along with four assists, three steals, and two blocks. Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) finished with career-highs, scoring 18 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, and he also blocked a game-high five shots. Ishimeal Nance (Muscle Shoals, AL/Muscle Shoals) also finished with a double-double -- his second in as many games -- with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Dequan Jackson (Philadelphia, PA/Murrell Dobbins) scored 18 points to go along with six rebounds, four steals, three assists, and two blocks for Penn State Altoona. Jalen Archie-Davis (Norcross, GA/Norcross) contributed a season-high 16 points and four assists.

Penn State Altoona finished the game with 13 shot blocks, tying the program's single game record.

"Great performance by Cam, who gave us 18 points, 15 boards, and five blocks. He really solidified the middle, and he hit some big free throws down the stretch," said McGreal. "Ish played through some pain and got another double-double tonight. Dequan played really well until he fouled out, and I thought some guys came in and gave us good minutes off of the bench, including Jalen and Aubrey Washington, who hit a big shot in overtime."

Keystone (2-3) was led by John Kirkpatrick, who gave the Giants 20 points and 17 rebounds. Perry Belcher also scored 20 while grabbing eight boards, and Devin Stricklin put up 19 points.

Penn State Altoona got into a groove on offense early in the first half. Jackson's jump shot and free throw and 14:49 gave the Lions a 16-10 lead, and Nance's layup 18 seconds later made it 18-10. A three-point play from Nance at 13:10 put the home team up 21-12. Jackson's fastbreak dunk at 8:11 put Penn State Altoona up by 12 points, 33-21. Following a pair of Jackson free throws, Bouknight's transition layup at 7:03 gave the Lions their largest lead of the day, 37-21.

But Keystone reeled off a 22-5 run to jump ahead. Mark Gilliam's three-pointer at 4:56 cut the Lions' lead to 37-31, and Kirkpatrick's layup at 1:29 made it 42-40. Jalen Flynn connected from three-point range at 1:14 to put the Giants up 43-42.

Gardner-Nicholson's putback layup with five seconds left in the half evened the score 44-44 by the intermission.

In the second half, Penn State Altoona pulled away to establish another double-digit lead midway through the period -- only to see it disappear by the end of the half.

Archie-Davis' layup and foul shot at 12:21 put Penn State Altoona up 62-61. Later, Nance's layup extended the Lions' lead to 10 points, 71-61, and Archie-Davis made a laypu at 8:13 to make it 73-61. Aubrey Washington II (Jacksonville, FL/University Christian) hit a three-pointer at 6:35, then scored a layup during a fastbreak at 6:13 to keep his team up by 12, 80-68. Jackson's bucket with 5:15 left gave Penn State Altoona an 82-68 lead.

But Keystone again used a big run to tie the score before the end of the period, outscoring Penn State Altoona 20-6 in the final five minutes of regulation. Bryan Williams' layup and free throw at 3:15 narrowed the Giants' deficit to seven points, 85-78. Kirkpatrick's layup made it a one-point game, 85-84, with 1:51 to play. Belcher put the game-tying layup into the hoop with one second left, sending the game into overtime with the score knotted at 88.

Keystone took the lead early in overtime, getting a three-pointer from Austin Smith at 4:29 to jump ahead 91-88. Free throws from Belcher and JT Bennet kept the visitors up 95-93 by the 2:46 mark, and Belcher's layup with 1:53 remaining put the Giants up 97-96.

But Penn State Altoona took a 98-97 lead at 1:43 on an Archie-Davis layup and never looked back. Washington hit a jump shot at 1:20 ahead of two Gardner-Nicholson free throws that gave the Lions a 102-99 advantage with 43 seconds on the clock. Tre' Brown (Winchester, VA/John Handley) and Nance each contributed a free throw within the final 23 seconds, and the Lions ended the game with a three-point victory.

Penn State Altoona overcame 28 turnovers in the win. The Lions' offense shot 48.2% from the field, while the defense limited Keystone to a 37.4% shooting percentage. Penn State Altoona also won the battle in the paint, outscoring the Giants 64-48 in the paint, and the Lions held a 20-9 advantage in fastbreak points.

"We have to really shore up our ball handling. We turned the ball over too much, and that's just going to improve with more practice. They played a really tough 1-3-1, which we hadn't seen, and we didn't take advantage of our opportunities by turning it over too much," said McGreal. "But all in all, we'll take the win, which is our third non-conference victory this year. We only had one last year, so as we keep talking about building and progressing, we made some strides tonight by beating a team that beat us pretty easily last year."

Next up, Penn State Altoona men's basketball opens its Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference schedule on the road this Wednesday, November 29, when the Lions travel to take on Pitt-Greensburg for a 6:00 p.m. contest.