Panthers Hang on to Beat Spartans

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

D'Youville missed a game-tying three-pointer in the final seconds Wednesday night, and the Pitt-Bradford men's basketball team held on to defeat the Spartans, 72-69.

With the miss, the Panthers avoided squandering a 17-point halftime lead and earned its second straight AMCC victory to improve to 8-5 in the league. Coupled with Hilbert's loss to La Roche tonight, the Panthers jumped to fifth in the standings and moved within a game of fourth-place.

The Spartans scored 44 points in the second half, whittling the deficit to three with 40 seconds remaining. On the Panthers' next possession, Evan Greening misfired from three, and D'Youville grabbed the defensive rebound.

Out of a called timeout, the Spartans' Darrius Hartzog got free for a game-tying shot from long-range, but he was off the mark, allowing the Panthers to escape.

D'Youville outscored Pitt-Bradford 28-12 over the final 10:19 to have a chance to force overtime. The Panthers missed 13 of their final 16 shots and went more than six minutes without a field goal. It was a stark contrast from the first 30 minutes in which the Panthers thoroughly dominated.

Pitt-Bradford shot 46 percent in the opening half and forced 14 turnovers, building an 18-point cushion midway through the frame. D'Youville particularly struggled from three, going 2-15 in the first 20 mintues, and trailed 42-27 at the break.

A 7-0 Spartan scoring run trimmed the Panthers' margin to nine at the 16:32 mark, but Jon Haenel drilled a triple two possessions later to push the advantage back to double-digits. Fateem Brockington's jumper midway through the half made it 57-41, yet the Spartans were not done, hitting a three seconds later to spark their closing flurry.

Pitt-Bradford shot 39 percent from the field and was 16-24 from the stripe. The Panthers preserved their lead over the final 10 minutes by going 9-11 from the line. D'Youville outrebounded the Blue and Gold by 14 and scored 21 second-chance points. The Spartan bench accounted for 27 points compared to just two for Pitt-Bradford.

Greening finished with a game-high 26 points on 12-18 shooting and pulled in 16 rebounds. Christian Kelly-Perkins and Brockington each had 17 points apiece, and Brockington handed out a team-high five assists.

"Glad we hung on for the road win," head coach Britt Moore said. "The Spartan Dome is always a hard place to play, and we got lucky to escape.

"We look forward to playing back at home Saturday in front of the home fans."

Pitt-Bradford jumps to 10-9 on the season and hosts Mt. Aloysius Saturday at 3 p.m.