Houghton handed the Pitt-Bradford men's basketball team its third straight loss Saturday afternoon, edging the Panthers 72-67.
Playing for the first time since Dec. 19, Pitt-Bradford struggled from the field, connecting on just 38 percent of its attempts against the Highlanders. The Panthers were also careless with the basketball, committing 20 turnovers.
The first half was a tight affair as the game was tied or the lead exchanged hands 10 times. Pitt-Bradford never led by more than two, its last lead coming at the 9:39 mark of the opening period with the score 14-12.
Houghton tied the game on the next possession, and following a Fateem Brockington miss, the Highlanders' Dylan Lambert scored to push the home team ahead 16-14. The lead would stretch to six before the Panthers trimmed it to 28-26 on Jon Haenel's basket. The Highlanders hit a three-pointer in the final minute of the half to lead 31-27 at the break.
Twice Pitt-Bradford cut the Houghton advantage to a basket early in the second half and each time the Highlanders responded with a three. A 10-3 scoring run midway through the frame pushed the advantage to nine and it hit double-digits on Samuel Ortega's layup at the 8:23 mark.
Pitt-Bradford rallied, scoring nine straight, capped by Manny Welch's three, to whittle the deficit to 60-57 with 3:26 remaining. The Highlanders answered by converting two free throws to make it a two-possession game again. Welch would connect from long-range twice in the final minute to pull the Panthers within three, yet Houghton went a perfect 8-8 from the line to foil the Panthers' comeback attempt.
Houghton finished the game 15 of 17 from the line and scored 22 points off of Pitt-Bradford's 20 turnovers. The Highlanders didn't fare much better from the field than the Panthers, hitting only 44 percent of their attempts, but they outscored Pitt-Bradford by 12 in the paint.
The Blue and Gold hit eight threes as a team, led by six from Welch, and was 13 of 18 from the charity stripe. Pitt-Bradford outrebounded Houghton 40-37 and totaled 16 second-chance points.
Welch netted a season-high 21 points, and Evan Greening added 20 points and 18 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. Sahlil Harris chipped in with eight points and five steals off the bench, and Christian Kelly-Perkins pulled in eight boards.
Pitt-Bradford drops to 3-6 on the season and resumes AMCC play Wednesday at home against Penn State Altoona.