PITTSBURGH, Pa. –Penn State Behrend dialed up a total team effort to eliminate the two-time defending champions Medaille from the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) playoffs, 58-51 at Coach Scott Lang Court, Friday.
The Lions (23-3) will advance to their seventh AMCC Championship game under head coach Dave Niland. Justin Kovac tallied 12 big second-half points to give him 14 on the night while Russ Conley and Chris Saltzman each finished with 14 in the win.
The Mavericks (20-6), coming off a big win over Pitt-Bradford to reach the semi-final game, were led by Ron Malicki and Joe Mogavero. Malicki scored 18 points, going a perfect 10-10 at the line and Mogavero netted 12 while pulling down six rebounds.
Just under three minutes to go in the game, Medaille's Ron Malicki hit a couple free throws to put the Mav's down five, 52-47. After a missed three-point shot by Kovac, the Mav's point guard Angel Flores drove through the lane for the scoop in (52-49). With 58 seconds to go, Saltzman hit a jumper to push the lead back to five (54-49). With Medaille setting up to foul, Pat St. Andrews caught the defense off-guard and hooked up with a streaking Saltzman to seal the deal for the Lions. The men would hold on to win 58-51.
The Lions shot a blistering 51.0 percent from the field while the Behrend bench outscored the Mav's 16-6 to advance to their first championship game since the 2007-08 season.
The first half started off slow but picked up as Behrend went on a 12-4 run to take a 21-11 lead that was never relinquished (2:32). Medaille fought back in the final two minutes of the half but the late surge wasn't enough to keep the Lions from heading into the locker room up, 25-20.
The men will face top-seed La Roche tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the AMCC Championship game.