Lions Cruise Past Spartans in 96-71 Win

Photo (by Raychel DeArmitt): Senior forward Dequan Jackson goes up for the ball during Saturday's win against D'Youville in the Adler Arena.
Photo (by Raychel DeArmitt): Senior forward Dequan Jackson goes up for the ball during Saturday's win against D'Youville in the Adler Arena.

ALTOONA, Pa. – The Penn State Altoona and D'Youville College men's basketball teams met for the second time in seven days on Saturday afternoon, and the Lions earned a 96-71 victory over their Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponents in the Adler Arena.

With the win, the Lions (14-7, 10-4 AMCC) extended their home conference winning streak to 11 games. They also picked up their 14th win overall, tying last season's win total which also represents a single season high for the men's basketball program.

"I'm very proud of the effort today. It's always tough to play someone in a pair of games so close together, and I was slightly concerned that we'd look past D'Youville with a big rivalry game against Mount Aloysius coming up on Wednesday, but the guys focused in and we were able to have a great start and continue that momentum," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "We never trailed in the game and got a much-needed conference win. It was a total team effort. 13 of 15 guys scored, and once again we recorded 20 assists as a team. I was really pleased with the effort of the starters and the bench to maintain the momentum and increase the lead at times."

Rich Bouknight (Norristown, PA/Norristown) led all scorers with 18 points for the Lions. Dequan Jackson (Philadelphia, PA/Murrell Dobbins) added 17 points, six rebounds, four steals, and three assists.

Ishimeal Nance (Muscle Shoals, AL/Muscle Shoals) recorded his sixth double-double of the year for Penn State Altoona, scoring 12 points and grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds. Austin Krise (Allport, PA/West Branch) contributed 10 points and five rebounds, while Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadephia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) blocked a game-high six shots to go with nine points and six boards.

D'Youville (5-15, 2-12 AMCC) was led in scoring by Will VanAuken, who put up 14 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Simeon Heard scored 11 points, and Jeremy VanDuluitgaarden chipped in 10 points.

Penn State Altoona jumped out to a 12-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Nance and Gardner-Nicholson opened the scoring, and after Gardner-Nicholson sank a foul shot, Bouknight and Jackson added layups. Bouknight's three-pointer at 18:07 made it 12-0.

Marshall Higley (Sayre, PA/Sayre) tipped in a shot and Krise made a layup to keep Penn State Altoona up by 12 points, 25-13, by 11:49. Higley's jumper and another Krise layup made it a 14-point game, 29-15, by the 10:46 mark. Jackson's jump shot at 8:43 made it 32-17.

Nance's three-pointer at 6:33 boosted the Lions' lead to 20 points, 39-19, and another Higley jump shot at 3:51 helped extend the lead to 47-20. Penn State Altoona went on to lead 49-28 at halftime.

The Lions' offense, which shot 51.3% for the game, continued to produce in the second half. Layups from Jackson and Jalen Archie-Davis (Norcross, GA/Norcross) brought the home team's lead back to 27 points, 60-33, by 15:44 of the second period.

D'Youville used a 12-0 run over the next several minutes to close the gap to 15 points. Juan Miguel Rosales and VanDuluitgaarden made layups to start the run, and Heard and Brian Nwaekeke each hit three-pointers to narrow the Lions' lead to 17 points, 60-43. Two free throws by VanAuken at 13:48 made it 60-45.

But Penn State Altoona responded with a 16-2 run to reestablish its commanding lead. Jackson's fastbreak layup sparked things for the Lions, and after two Gardner-Nicholson foul shots, Tyson West (Wheeling, WV/Linsly School) connected from three-point range at 11:02 to make it 70-47. A Jackson jumper, Nance free throw, and Jackson trey made it 76-47 by 8:36.

Two layups by Krise helped Penn State Altoona to its largest lead of the day, 87-54, by the 5:17 mark. Andrew Gal (Malvern, PA/Great Valley) hit a three-pointer to keep the Lions' lead at 33 points, 90-57, with 4:11 to play.

Penn State Altoona posted a dominating 54-24 scoring advantage in the paint, and they also led 23-8 in second chance points.

"Today was a special day, getting our 14th win to tie for the most wins in a season. We also increased our conference home winning streak to 11 games, and we were able to gain position in the standings and hang on to the number three seed," said McGreal. "We have a huge week next week, with a rivalry game against Mount Aloysius, who's playing well not and sitting in the six seed in the conference standings. After that, we have a huge home contest on Saturday against one of the top teams in the league, La Roche. We have to enjoy this win and then get to work to get ready and finish strong in our last four games."

Penn State Altoona men's basketball travels to nearby AMCC opponent Mount Aloysius College on Wednesday, February 7 at 6:00 p.m.