ERIE, Pa. - The Penn State Behrend men's basketball team defeated Westminster 82-76 Saturday evening in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Confernece (ECAC) semifinals.
Senior guard Malquan Pullium (Erie, PA/Strong Vincent) scored a game-high 21 points and Andy Niland (Fairview, PA/Fairview) added 12 second-half points to help the Lions (21-7) advance to the championship game Sunday afternoon against Stockton. The Ospreys defeated Bethany 83-63 to advance.
Behrend and the Titans (17-12) played a tight first half, overall. After trading baskets through the first 10 minutes, Westminster mounded an 8-2 run to break open the game for the first time of the night. Behrnend then responded with a run of their own, outscoring the Titans 15-3 for the remainder of the half, making it a 40-30 game at the break.
Westminster came out hot to start the second half as they looked to get back into the game. Justin Gorny (South Park, PA/South Park) scored the first bucket of the new half, but five straight buckets from the Titans offense brought the game back within one at the 16:57 mark, 42-41.
For the next seven minutes, both teams were neck and neck with neither team leading by more than three points. A three from Marco Delorenzo gave Westminster their largest lead of the second half, putting his team up 61-56.
Niland and Pullium hit back-to-back three's and the Lions again jumped ahead, 62-61. For the next five minutes Behrend and the Titans traded the lead seven times while sharing it three times. Dan Wanker (Pittsnurgh, PA/South Park) gave the Lions its final lead of the game at the 3:19 mark, putting them ahead 71-69.
They would finish the game by outscoring Westminster 13-7 and completing the 82-76 win.
Pullium finished the game shooting 9-for-14 from the field to tally his 21 points. He also pulled donw seven rebounds and recorded six steals.
Niland went 5-for-11 from the floor to finish with 19 points. He dished out a team-high six assists and grabbed three steals.
Wanker added 13 to the effort after shooting 66.7 percent (6-for-9).