Pitt-Bradford Men Survive Wild Finish to Stun La Roche

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

Fateem Brockington hit the game-winning shot with five seconds remaining, and the Pitt-Bradford men's basketball team survived a frantic finish to edge La Roche, 75-74, Saturday afternoon.

The Redhawks entered the contest atop the league standings with a mark of 8-1, yet the Panthers led for nearly 37 minutes and overcame poor outside shooting to knock off the visitors.

La Roche erased a nine-point deficit over the final 3:22 to tie game at 73 with 15 seconds left on Arnes Bajgora's three from the wing. Pitt-Bradford aided the Redhawks' comeback by missing a pair of shots and turning the ball over three times.

Following Bajgora's three, Fateem Brockington drove the lane and hit a pull-up jumper, giving the Panthers a 75-73 lead, and then chaos ensued.

Out of a La Roche timeout, Pitt-Bradford's Dylan Niedermeyer stole Dion Etheridge's inbounds pass near half-court. The Redhawks immediately fouled, and Niedermeyer lost his balance, crashing to the floor. His momentum from making the steal carried him underneath the Panthers' basket.

Pitt-Bradford was assessed a Class B technical foul when Tim Atkinson rushed over from the bench to help Niedermeyer up. La Roche was awarded one free throw and converted, and Niedermeyer went to the line at the other end with a chance to ice the game. He missed the front-end of the one-and-one and was whistled for a foul as La Roche's Ray Quan Phifer attempted to push the ball up the court with two seconds remaining.

With the student section at a fever-pitch, Phifer missed his free throw attempt with 0.6 seconds left on the clock, and Evan Greening tipped the ball into the corner to preserve the win.

Pitt-Bradford built a 13-point first-half lead, ignited by the play of Sahlil Harris off the bench. His and-one play fueled a stretch of nine-straight points by the Panthers midway through the half, and his jumper shortly before the buzzer gave the home team a 38-31 lead at the break.

La Roche tied the game on four separate occasions in the second half, yet could never jump ahead as the Panthers answered each time. Brockington's and-one play with 3:22 remaining pushed Pitt-Bradford's deficit to nine, setting the stage for a wild finish.

The Panthers shot 46 percent from the floor, but struggled from long-range going 4-16. They were 15-19 from the charity stripe and outscored the Redhawks by 12 in the paint. La Roche hit 44 percent of its attempts and connected for nine threes to claw back.

Harris finished with a career-high 25 points on 9-13 shooting, and Greening collected his 14th double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and pulling down 14 boards. His rebound shortly before halftime gave him 1,000 for his career. Brockington added 15 points, and Jon Haenel netted four steals.

"That was a really fun college basketball game with a great atmosphere," head coach Britt Moore said. "We found our style and played hard the whole game. The ending was as crazy as any I have been a part of."

Pitt-Bradford improves to 8-8 on the year and 6-5 in the AMCC. The Panthers travel to Alfred State Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip.