Lions Overpower Defending AMCC Champion Medaille

Photo (by Tim Belardi): Penn State Altoona freshman guard Aubrey Washington goes in for a layup during the Lions' win over Medaille College on Saturday afternoon in the Adler Arena.
Photo (by Tim Belardi): Penn State Altoona freshman guard Aubrey Washington goes in for a layup during the Lions' win over Medaille College on Saturday afternoon in the Adler Arena.

ALTOONA, Pa. - Penn State Altoona men's basketball avenged last February's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament semifinal round loss to Medaille College, as the Lions defeated the defending conference champion Mavericks 97-81 on Saturday afternoon in the Adler Arena.

Penn State Altoona (6-3, 3-1 AMCC) played a well-rounded game, getting double-digit scoring totals from six different players while coming up with timely stops on defense.

"It was a great day to be a Penn State Altoona Lion. Huge conference win against the defending champs, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of our 1967-68 conference championship team, and numerous former Lions players were there to see it," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "I thought we played as well as we played all year in the first half. We defended well, we shot it well, and we scored in transition."

Dequan Jackson (Philadelphia, PA/Murrell Dobbins) led Penn State Altoona in scoring with 19 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists, and three steals, and Aubrey Washington II (Jacksonville, FL/University Christian) scored a season-high 17 points while adding three assists and three steals. Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) posted his third double-double effort of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. Gardner-Nicholson also led all players in the game with four blocks.

Ishimeal Nance (Muscle Shoals, AL/Muscle Shoals) contributed 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Jalen Archie-Davis (Norcross, GA/Norcross) finished with 11 points and five boards, and Tre' Brown (Winchester, VA/John Handley) also scored 11 points to go along with five rebounds and a game-high six assists.

"We had great performances from multiple players. Tre' Brown continues to run the show, distributing and taking care of the ball, and he has been shooting it well. Aubrey was on fire in the first half, Dequan and Ish were aggressive and doing their thing, and big Cam once again owned the paint and boards," said McGreal. "We just have to try and keep this momentum going through the holiday break."

Medaille (3-5, 1-2 AMCC) got a game-high 25 points from Meghale Ford. Kirk Hawkins added 16 points, and Jonathan Smith finished with 10 points.

Penn State Altoona's offense was in a groove during the first half, shooting 55.3% from the field and producing 55 points.

Brown's three-pointer at 18:17 put the Lions up 5-2, and Jackson's layup one minute later made it 7-4. Treys from Jackson and Washington helped to increase Penn State Altoona's lead to 21-9 by the 13:21 mark, and Archie-Davis' fastbreak layup just over a minute later kept the difference at 12 points, 26-14.

Baskets from Jackson and Gardner-Nicholson, along with another three-pointer buried by Brown, gave Penn State Altoona a 15-point advantage, 40-25, with 7:19 on the clock. After Medaille cut the Lions' lead to seven, Gardner-Nicholson converted a three-point play at 4:14 to bring his team's lead up to 10 points, 44-34. Over the next two minutes, Washington connected twice more from three-point range and Brown added a layup to establish a 52-34 advantage for the home team. Washington's three-pointer with three seconds left in the half set the score at 55-41 going into the break.

Penn State Altoona maintained a healthy lead throughout the second half. Jackson's layup at 17:10 gave the Lions an 18-point lead, 63-45, and two three-pointers from Rich Bouknight (Norristown, PA/Norristown) upped the lead to 20 points, 69-49, by 15:24. Marshall Higley (Sayre, PA/Sayre) made a pair of free throws at 11:46 to give Penn State Altoona its largest lead of the game, 77-56.

Medaille made a push late in the second half, embarking on a 13-1 run to try and climb back into the game. Ford's three-pointer at 9:16 started the run, and he later contributed a layup and two foul shots. Mike Hollenback also made two layups, and Hawkins' transition score at 6:20 cut the Lions' lead to eight points, 82-74.

But Brown answered that basket with another three-pointer at 5:54, and Penn State Altoona reestablished its lead over the rest of the period.

Next up, Penn State Altoona men's basketball ventures into non-conference play on Saturday, December 16 when it hosts Shenandoah University for a 6:00 p.m. game in Adler.