ABINGTON, Pa. - Momentum had slipped away from Gallaudet University in the second half of Wednesday night's North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men's basketball game at Penn St.-Abington. The visiting Bison needed a spark to get them back on track as they had lost the lead to the Nittany Lions. GU rallied to defeat Penn St.-Abington by three, 65-62.
That spark came in the form of a technical foul given to the Gallaudet bench due to a disputed call. For a brief moment, Penn St.-Abington (7-11, 6-7 NEAC) built onto its lead to 12 points, 58-46, with seven minutes left in regulation.
Gallaudet (16-4, 14-1 NEAC) locked down and regained focused and played relentlessly and made shot after shot. The Bison stampeded back and cut the 12-point lead to one, 60-59, with 3:31 left.
Junior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) made a lay-up at the 2:14 mark to give Gallaudet its first lead in 22 minutes. Senior center Joshua McGriff (Somerset, N.J.) came through with a big basket with 43 seconds left while freshman guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) made two free throws to preserve the victory.
Gallaudet has now tied its program record for conference wins in a season with 14.
Penn St.-Abington suffered a stretch in the closing minutes where it missed nine shots from the field before it made a lay-up with 12 seconds left.
Three different Bison finished in double figures. Valencia led the team with 17 points, three rebounds and three steals while McGriff posted a double-double with 11 points, a game-high 15 rebounds and four blocks. Cruz added 16 points, six rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
Penn St.-Abington was led by Austin Slawter's 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Don Sloan matched Slawter's point total off the bench.
The Nittany Lions led 33-28 at halftime.
- Senior guard Raymond Nelson (Riverside, Calif.) was limited to two points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals
- Freshman Matthew Sherman (Angora, Minn.) was Gallaudet's leading scorer at halftime with nine points as he made 3 of 3 shots from 3-point range
- GU dealt with foul trouble in the first half before getting it under control in the second half
- The Bison held a 36-24 edge in the paint
- The game featured four lead changes and four ties
- Gallaudet's largest lead was seven points in the first half
- GU swept the season series against Penn St.-Abington
- The Bison defeated the Nittany Lions 76-66 on Jan. 12
Gallaudet returns home on Saturday, Feb. 4, to welcome NEAC opponents Lancaster Bible College (8-10, 8-5 NEAC) at 2 p.m. The 21st Annual Alumni Basketball Madness Day will take place this Saturday as well.