PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Senior forward Zane Hackett (Brookville, PA/Brookville) set a new career-high with 36 points to lift the Penn State Behrend men's basketball team over Carnegie Mellon 76-71 in a thriller Wednesday evening.
Hackett recorded his sixth double-double of the season against the Tartans (7-4) with 36 points and 11 rebounds. His 36 points broke his previous career record of 25 set just under a year ago at Medaille.
Hackett owned the paint the entire game, but most effectively in the first half, recording 24 of his points on 9-of-11 shooting and adding 6-of-9 from the charity stripe.
A 16-3 run by Behrend (8-1) in the last 4:01 of regulation lifted them to a hard-fought, come from behind win. Justin Gorny (South Park, PA/South Park) got hot from behind the arc to start the run.
After a bucket by Carnegie Mellon, Gorny, with ice in his veins, knocked down an NBA-range three to give the Lions their first lead of the half. From there, Hackett converted on an and-one to seal the win for Behrend. Gorny finished tying his career-high with 14 points.
The three ball was the key element in the first half, despite the strong interior play from Hackett. Carnegie Mellon shot lights out from behind the arc, going 6-of-7 to keep them in the game, while Behrend went 0-for-5.
The first 20 minutes was quite the half of basketball from both teams. Seven lead changes and five forced ties made for an intense battle. After a 7-0 run to open the game for the Lions, Carnegie Mellon scored the next eight to ignite the back and forth action.
Both teams traded buckets until the Tartans jumped to a 12-2 run to give them their biggest lead of the half at 22-15. Hackett took over from there. He scored Behrend's next 14 points to give them a two-point advantage with just under five minutes left.
The two teams once again traded baskets until Ryan Maha of Carnegie Mellon hit a three to give the Tartans a 36-34 lead going into the break. This two-point deficit was only the second time the Lions had trailed at the half this season.
Being unable to overcome their first halftime deficit this season, Behrend would not let it happen again. They battled hard and capped the game off with a 16-3 run to come back from once 10-point Tartan lead.
The Lions shot over 50 percent (53.1%) from the field for the second straight game to secure their fourth consecutive win heading back into conference play.
Behrend returns to action Saturday to take on Franciscan in the Junker Center for a 2 p.m. tip-off.