READING, Pa. – One of the most decorated senior classes in the history of men's basketball at Gallaudet University played their final game Tuesday night on the road as the Bison lost, 67-62, to Penn St.-Berks in a tightly contested North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) tournament quarterfinal game.
Gallaudet (11-13) was in the game the entire way as there were seven ties and four lead changes in the playoff game. Penn St.-Berks (11-13) held the lead the entire second half, after both teams went into intermission tied at 32, but never led by more than single digits. GU pulled to within two points, 62-60, with 1:19 left in regulation but the Nittany Lions capitalized on their free throw attempts in the last minute to seal the game.
The Bison senior class concludes their four-year run with a 44-57 record (43.6 win percentage), advanced to the NEAC tournament two years in a row, last season they set the program record for most wins in a season (17) breaking a 110-year-old mark and earned the program's first-ever postseason berth to the ECAC tournament. In the past two season, since Gallaudet joined the NEAC, the Bison are 28-24 overall (51.8 win percentage) and 20-12 in conference play (62.5 win percentage).
"I want to thank this senior class for changing the men's basketball culture at Gallaudet to a positive one because they were a hard-working bunch that demonstrated a winning attitude and had a team-first mentality," said Gallaudet fifth-year coach Jeb Barber. "They will be missed but not forgotten because they have left their mark in Gallaudet history."
Senior guard Tony Tatum (Gardendale, Ala.) scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the second half while senior guard Brandon McMillan (Frederick, Md.) added 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Senior forward Daniel Fava (Baltimore, Md.) netted eight points but grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, his season best total, while junior guard Jocus Houston (Baton Rouge, La.) knocked down 10 first-half points. Senior forward Layton Seeber (Champaign, Ill.) had a rough night shooting (1-for-13) as he finished with nine points, five rebounds, three blocks and two assists.
The Bison recorded a season best 90.5 shooting percentage from the free throw line but only shot 32.8 percent from the field (19-for-58), the worst shooting percentage since December 5, 2011. Gallaudet was outrebounded for a fifth straight game as Penn St.-Berks held a 45-37 edge. GU only had three assists, a season low, in the loss.
Penn St.-Berks was paced by guard Shawn Green who scored a game-high 28 points, 15 in the second half, as he tallied six rebounds and three steals. Center Tom Smith (10 rebounds) and guard Connor Hough (six rebounds) both scored 10 points in the win. The Nittany Lions will face Morrisville St. on Saturday, Feb. 25, in the NEAC semifinals.
GU used an 8-0 run in a four-minute stretch to take an 11-7 lead in the first half with 11:10 left before halftime. The four-point lead was the largest for the Bison in the game. Seeber made a three-pointer with two seconds left before half to tie the game at 32.
The Nittany Lions led by as much as nine, 53-44, with 10 minutes left in the second half. Penn St.-Berks recorded its last field goal in the game with 3:34 left on the clock. The Nittany Lions missed four shots down the stretch and committed one turnover in the final three minutes but GU wasn't able to capitalize on the miscues as the Bison made two turnovers and missed three shots of their own.