Second-Half Push Not Enough As Penn State-Altoona Outlasts Panthers

Photo by Erika Helo
Photo by Erika Helo

ALTOONA, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford put together a tough second half and went down to the wire at Penn State-Altoona, but ultimately fell, 97-86, Wednesday evening in an Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference game.

"We came out slow, I think, because of the long layoff," Head Coach Sean Brown Sr. said. "In the second half, our defense came out strong with a lot of intensity. We need to start games the way we finished tonight. Christian gave us a huge lift offensively with his biggest game of the season and Dylan gave us a double-double. We are looking forward to some tough competition this weekend at Penn State-Behrend."

Christian Kelly-Perkins erupted for a career-high 31 points to lead all scorers. The senior registered 12 field goals and knocked down six of seven free throws. 

Dylan Niedermeyer registered a double-double of 15 points and 12 boards, and Sahlil Harris also scored 15 points.

A tale of two halves, the Panthers shot 43.9 percent in the second half after shooting 35.9 percent in the first half and held the Lions to 37.1 percent from the floor in the second half after they shot 52.6 in the first.

Harris and Niedermeyer both turned it on for the Panthers in the second half as Harris scored 10 of his 15 points and Niedermeyer scored 11 of his 15 points in the half. 

Penn State-Altoona scored the first four points of the game before Niedermeyer connected on a layup to get the scoring started for the Panthers at the 17:51 mark. 

The Panthers hung with the Lions early on, as free throws from Malique McCoy and a layup from Desmond Brogsdale helped keep the deficit at one point.

But Altoona later used the three-ball to extend its lead to double-digits at the 8:51 mark, 23-13. 

With the Lions later ahead by 15 points with two minutes remaining in the first half, Dylan Mitchell cut into the lead with a layup.

But Altoona responded with five quick points before Kelly-Perkins and the Lions traded layups in the final minute of the half, and the Lions took a 56-38 lead into the break. 

Kelly-Perkins led the Panthers with 15 points in the first half.

But the Panthers turned it on in the second half.

Using its high-pressure defense, Pitt-Bradford forced stops and climbed back into contention, bringing the score to single-digits at the 11:20 mark off a block from Mitchell and a fast break layup from Kelly-Perkins.

A layup later extended Altoona's lead back up to 14 points, 83-69, at the 6:28 mark, but Pitt-Bradford used a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to just five points, 87-82, with 3:26 left.

But Altoona scored six-straight points, and the five-point deficit would be as close as the Panthers would get the rest of the way.

The Panthers never went away, though, as they hung around single-digits for much of the final minute of the game, but Altoona held on for the 97-86 final.

Pitt-Bradford won the battle on the glass, out-rebounding the Lions 51-44. In addition to Niedermeyer's 12 boards, Kelly-Perkins had eight. 

The Panthers knocked down four three-pointers, two coming from Niedermeyer.

Brogsdale led the Panthers with three steals and Niedermeyer had as many blocked shots.

Up next, the Panthers will head to Penn State-Behrend for an AMCC showdown Saturday at 1 p.m.