ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend men's basketball team defeated Alfred 78-57 Wednesday night and advanced to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Quarterfinals.
The Lions' (21-7) second-half performance helped get them back on the winning track to taking down the Saxons (18-9). Dan Wanker (Pittsburgh, PA/South Park) led the way with 17 points and 12 rebounds, posting his second double-double of the season.
Justin Gorny (South Park, PA/South Park) and Mike Fischer (Wexford, PA/North Allegheny) each registered 16 points in the game. Gorny shot 5-of-8 from the field while also pulling down five boards. Fischer recorded a 70 percent field-goal percentage in the contest, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out three helpers.
Junior guard Andy Niland (Fairview, PA/Fairview) also scored in double-figures for the Lions. He tallied 15 points and notched a game-high six assists.
After an evenly played first half, the game was up for grabs. Buckets were exchanged by both teams the entire first half. It wasn't until the final 2:22 of the half where Behrend edged Alfred 7-4 to bring the score to 41-37 in favor of the Lions.
The Saxons shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from behind the arc, while the Lions posted a 41.7 percent shooting percentage from the field and converted on 47.1 percent of their three-pointers.
The second half is where things began to change. Behrend opened the half on a 20-9 run that helped generate a 13 point advantage. From there, Behrend took control of the game, topping out at a 21-point lead, and ending the final score 78-57.
After allowing 37 first half points, Behrend's No. 1 ranked scoring defense in the NCAA held Alfred to score only 20 points in the second half. Not only that, but the Lions held them to only make 2-of-15 three-pointers (13.3 percent) and convert on 7-of-31 (22.6 percent) of their shots from the floor.
Despite making only two second-half three-pointers themselves, the Lions still managed to notch a 50.0 shooting percentage from the field. Behrend was also efficient from the charity strip in the contest, hitting 12-of-13 (92.3 percent).
The Lions out bounded the Saxons 44-31, pulling down the most rebounds in a game this season.
Behrend advances to the ECAC quarterfinals on Friday, where travel to and face off against the No. 2 seed, and tournament host, Wilkes University. Game time is set for 5 p.m.