Lions Grab Big 91-49 Win Over Franciscan

Photo (by Tim Belardi): Penn State Altoona's Austin Krise finishes a layup during the Lions' win over Franciscan University on Wednesday night in the Adler Arena.
Photo (by Tim Belardi): Penn State Altoona's Austin Krise finishes a layup during the Lions' win over Franciscan University on Wednesday night in the Adler Arena.

ALTOONA, Pa. - Penn State Altoona men's basketball got back in the win column on Wednesday night, defeating Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent Franciscan University 91-49 in the Adler Arena.

The Lions (5-3, 2-1 AMCC) clicked on all cylinders in the victory. Defensively, Penn State Altoona limited Franciscan to just 14 points in the first half -- the fewest points allowed in a half in men's basketball program history -- while forcing 22 turnovers. On the offensive end, the Lions shot 53.8% from the field.

"I'm really excited about tonight's performance, especially on the defensive end. We felt like, last time out against Hilbert, we didn't play with enough toughness and effort on the defensive end, so that's what we worked on the last couple of days, and it paid off," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "Holding a team to 14 points in a half was proof of that."

Austin Krise (Allport, PA/West Branch) led all scorers in the game with a season-high 14 points. Rich Bouknight (Norristown, PA/Norristown) added 13 points and tied for the team-high with four assists, and Ishimeal Nance (Muscle Shoals, AL/Muscle Shoals) scored 12 points, tied for the top rebound total on the team with seven, and contributed four assists.

Tre' Brown (Winchester, VA/John Handley) added nine points and four assists. Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and a game-high three blocks. Chucky Drummond (Royersford, PA/Spring-Ford) also scored seven points.

Penn State Altoona got contributions from much of its roster in the win, as 14 different players scored points during the game.

"It was great to see everyone get a chance to play and contribute. The starters got us off to a great start, and the reserves came in and played great," said McGreal.

Franciscan (0-7, 0-3 AMCC) was led in scoring by Juwan Perkins, who put up 11 points. Keoni Sablan added nine points and three assists for the Barons, and Joe Schriner finished with nine points and four rebounds.

Penn State Altoona held Franciscan scoreless for the first 8:06 of the game, until Perkins' three-pointer at the 11:54 mark put his team on the board. Meanwhile, the Lions started the night off by scoring 12 straight points. Brown's three-pointer and Bouknight's two-point jumper accounted for Penn State Altoona's first points. Bouknight added two free throws, Brown again connected from beyond the arc, and Marshall Higley (Sayre, PA/Sayre) hit a jumper at 14:24 to make it 12-0.

Later in the half, Penn State Altoona continued to expand its lead. Brown's three-pointer with 3:54 left in the period gave the Lions a 13-point lead, 27-14. Krise followed with a layup, and Nance made two foul shots to increase the advantage to 31-14. Tip-in baskets from Nance and Krise within the closing seconds of the half set the score at 35-14 by the intermission.

Penn State Altoona started the second half on an 11-0 run. Dequan Jackson's (Philadelphia, PA/Murrell Dobbins) dunk and Nance's trey got things started. Bouknight sank a jumper before two layups from Gardner-Nicholson put the Lions' lead at 32 points, 46-14.

The Lions' reserves used the three ball late in the game to put their team at its largest point differential of the night. Andrew Gal (Malvern, PA/Great Valley), Trey Butterworth (Clarence, PA/Bald Eagle), Nate Gillen (Johnstown, PA/Central Cambria), and Drummond each connected on three-pointers within the final 4:19 of the game to help Penn State Altoona end the game with a 42-point lead.

The Lions held significant scoring advantages over Franciscan in points off turnovers (34-9), second chance points (12-6), fast break points (16-6), and bench points (48-21).

Franciscan's 49 points scored are the fewest allowed in a game by Penn State Altoona men's basketball since January 21, 2013, when the Lions surrendered just 45 points in a win over Marymount University.

"Now we have to get back to work and get ready for the defending conference champs this weekend on what should be a great day for Penn State Altoona basketball," said McGreal.

The Lions will host defending AMCC champion Medaille College in the Adler Arena this Saturday, December 9 at 1:00 p.m. At the game, members of Penn State Altoona's 1967-68 Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference champion men's basketball team will be honored.