READING, Pa. – The Gallaudet University men's basketball team missed an opportunity Sunday to take an easier path in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) tournament with an 83-67 loss at Penn St.-Berks.
Gallaudet (11-12, 8-6 NEAC South Division) will make a return trip to Reading, Pa., on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. to face Penn St.-Berks (10-13, 9-5 NEAC South) in the first round of the NEAC tournament. The winner will advance to the NEAC semifinals this coming weekend at Morrisville St.
Senior forward Daniel Fava (Baltimore, Md.) posted his second double-double on the season and scored a career-high 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds as he led all Gallaudet scorers. Seniors Tony Tatum (Gardendale, Ala.) and Brandon McMillan (Frederick, Md.) scored 15 points apiece while Layton Seeber (Champaign, Ill.) recorded a team-high six assists to go with nine points and six rebounds. Gallaudet was only able to gather four points and one rebound from its bench in the loss.
Gallaudet failed to connect on its first four shots and found themselves down 9-0 after only three minutes into the game. Both teams were nearly identical in terms of field goal percentage, free throw percentage and rebounds collected for the game. In fact, the only difference is that nearly half of Berks' field goal attempts in the first half (31 attempts) came from behind the three-point arc (6 of 15), whereas Gallaudet only attempted three shots from long range.
After the slow start and falling behind by as many as 12 points mid-way through the first half, Gallaudet scratched their way back into contention and had reduced the Lions' lead to only four points with a layup from junior guard Jocus Houston (Baton Rouge, La.) with 1:28 left before intermission. Gallaudet tried to cut into Berks' lead even more in the final minute but missed a layup and a subsequent three-point field goal by the Lions ended the first half with Penn St.-Berks up seven, 40-33.
In the second half, Gallaudet missed four of its first five field goals, which included three attempts inside the paint. In less than four minutes the Bison were again down by 14 points as a result of cold shooting. All chances for Gallaudet to fight its way back into the game were lost as they committed five turnovers in the last four minutes, including four in the final two minutes. GU also fouled Penn St.-Berks eight times in that span which led to 10 points as the Lions only missed three of their 13 attempts to seal the victory.
All five of Penn State's starters scored in double figures, led by Shawn Green's game-high 23 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Tom Smith scored 12 points and hauled down 11 rebounds as he recorded a double-double for the Nittany Lions. Connor Hough (16 points), Dontez Reid (13) and Jeff Schmidt (10) each contributed offensively in the victory.