UPB Men Edge LaRoche, 68-67

UPB Men Edge LaRoche, 68-67

BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford men's basketball team (9-14, 8-8) picked up a crucial AMCC victory, topping LaRoche (10-13, 10-6) in a 68-67 thriller at the KOA Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers honored seniors Nick Goss, Colton Holzwarth, Eric Matheson and Forrest Works prior to the victory over the Redhawks.

"That was a big win for us at home. La Roche played unbelievable considering they had to travel five hours because of the weather issues," said Pitt-Bradford head coach Britt Moore. "They came out on fire. It was great to see the seniors play so well on senior night."

Matheson led the Panther's offense with 27 points, six rebounds and five assists while Evan Greening followed with a double-double, posting 18 points and 12 boards. Holzwarth added eight points while Jon Haenel chipped in with five points off of the bench in the victory.

Arnes Bajgora led the Redhawks with 22 points and eight boards while Andy Abreu picked up a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. Ryan Norkus and Evan Bonnaure each added nine points in the loss.

The Panthers shot 50-percent from the floor and from beyond the arc but shot just 57.1-percent from the free throw line allowing LaRoche to stay in the game until the end.

The Redhawks controlled the pace early on, opening the game on an 11-5 run. The Panthers clawed their way back into the game when Works, Matheson, Holzarth and Greening led Pitt-Bradford on an 11-0 run to take a 16-11 lead with 14 minutes to play in the opening half.

LaRoche answered with a run of their own, eventually leading by as many as 10 at 34-24 with six minutes to play in the first.

Matheson answered right back scoring 10 of the Panthers 12 points on a 12-0 run that gave the Panthers a slim 36-34 lead with just under two minutes left in the first. Abreu tied the game with a layup, but Greening added a floater of his own with just eight seconds left to give the Panthers a 38-36 lead at the half.

The teams traded baskets for the opening 15 minutes of the final half with neither leading by more than one possession until Holzwarth nailed a mid-range jumper with 4:58 left to give UPB a 63-57.

The Panthers struggled from the line in the final minutes, allowing LaRoche to eventually come within two at 67-65 with just 16 seconds left.

The Redhawks, however, called a timeout when they had none left, allowing the Panthers to get one shot from the free throw line. Matheson nailed the shot from the charity stripe, but due to the type of technical called LaRoch got the ball on the far side of the court.

LaRoche got a decent look from beyond the arc, but missed. Bajgora got the rebound and put it right back up as time expired, but it wasn't enough as the Panthers hung on for the 68-67 victory.

The Panthers return to action Wednesday for their final home game of the season against Medaille at 6 p.m. in the KOA Arena.