UPB Men Nearly Pull Off the Upset at Top-Seeded Hilbert in AMCC Semi's

Photo credit to Wade Aiken.
Photo credit to Wade Aiken.

Hamburg, N.Y. – The fifth-seeded University of Pittsburgh at Bradford men's basketball team gave top-seeded Hilbert College all it could handle, but came up just short, falling 80-75 in the AMCC semifinal round Saturday afternoon at Hilbert.

"I am proud of the run we had to end the season and the effort that we showed all season," said Pitt-Bradford head coach Britt Moore. "We played our best basketball at the end of the year, which is all a coach can ask for. We had a special group of seniors and it will be sad to see them go. We just couldn't put together enough stops to pull away."

The Panthers finish their season with a record of 12-15 while Hilbert improves to 22-4 and will advance to the AMCC title game Sunday afternoon at one against third-seeded Pitt-Greensburg, who beat second-seeded Penn Sate Behrend in overtime on Saturday afternoon. 

Evan Greening led the Panthers with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Eric Matheson followed with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Manny Welch rounded out the Panther's scoring in double figures with 11 points in the loss.

Jerame Owens led the Hawks with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists while Jalen Smith added 16 points and Sean Weisenal and Ryan Bradt finished with 10 points each in the victory.

Hilbert shot more than 50-percent (29-57) from the floor, 50-percent (8-16) from beyond the arc and 93.3-percent from the free throw line (14-15). The Panthers also shot the ball well, going 47.4 (27-57) from the floor and an impressive 52.9-percent (9-17) from beyond the arc.

The Hawks were the better team in the first half, but never put together a big run to put the game out of the reach, as they took a nine-point lead into the locker room at the half.

Hilbert's lead would reach as many as 10 early in the second half, but the Panther's offense quickly found its rhythm.

Fateem Brockington scored all nine of his points over a three-minute span in the second half that brought the Panthers within four at 51-47 with 15 minutes left. 

Welch caught fire later in the half, knocking down a three and then adding two free throws on the next possession. Matheson then drilled a step-back three to give the Panthers a 64-63 lead with 7:58 to play.

Smith and Weisenal quickly gave the Hawks the lead back with back-to-back threes.

The Hawks held on to their slim lead and knocked down their free throws at the end to earn the trip to the conference title game.

Despite the loss, the Panthers went 5-1 in their final six games and were playing solid basketball during the most crucial point of the season.