ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend men's basketball edged branch rival Penn State Altoona 67-66 in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) action Saturday afternoon.
For the fourth time this season, Wanker buried 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, making that six consecutive games with double-figures. He also pulled down eight rebounds on the day.
Fischer, who tallied 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals, came up big down the stretch. He scored the Lions' last six points of the game, including the game-winning layup with 35 seconds left that aided in the defeat of the cross-state Lions (9-6, 5-3 AMCC).
This one-point game came right down to the wire. After a layup shot by Wanker with just under ten to play, the game was tied 52-52 and would set up for an exciting finish.
At the 6:12 mark, a Connor McLaughlin (Ashtabula, OH/Edgewood) three-pointer and Wanker bucket gave Behrend a little breathing room with a five-point advantage over Altoona.
However, Altoona clawed back and retaliated to every one of Behrend's made baskets. Dequan Jackson converted on a three of his own, followed by a layup to bring the score within one with less than five remaining.
In the final two minutes of this nail biter, Fischer shot a perfect 2-for-2 from inside the paint to maintain the lead for the Lions, and ultimately notched the winning basket in the closing minute of the game.
This suspenseful second half was similar to that of the first half. The first was full of runs that kept the game close. In the opening three minutes of the game, Behrend jumped out to a 7-0 advantage. Altoona quickly answered with an 11-5 run of their own to bring the game within one point.
After trading baskets the majority of the half, Behrend's offense meshed together and reached an 11-point edge over Altoona. Just when people thought the game was out of reach, Altoona closed out the remaining 5:35 on a 13-to-3 run to make the score 34-33 at halftime, in favor of Behrend.
The Lions had three players score in double figures in this conference face-off. Malike Brinson (Erie, PA/Central Tech) drained three three-pointers for 12 points while also adding four steals and three assists in the win.
Despite the loss, Altoona outshot Behrend 47.3 percent to 43.4 percent, and outrebounded them 35-30.
Behrend will hit the road on Wednesday, January 17, where they will head to La Roche to battle in another AMCC showdown. The game is set to begin at 6 p.m.