WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University men's basketball team held on to win a close 78-75 game here Sunday afternoon over Penn St.-Berks in a North Eastern Athletic Conference contest in the Field House.
Gallaudet (18-4, 16-1 NEAC) has now tied its program record for wins in a season and maintain a commanding lead in the NEAC South Division and hold the top spot overall in the conference.
The Bison maintained the lead for the first 38 minutes of the game, as they led by as many as 15 points, but they allowed the lead to slip away late in the second half. A Gallaudet foul sent Darren Major (20 points, five rebounds) to the free-throw line where he made two shots for Penn St.-Berks (4-15, 4-11 NEAC) to tie the game at 71 with 1:16 left in regulation.
On the ensuing possession, a Nittany Lions foul sent junior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) to the free-throw line with a chance to regain the lead. Calmly, Cruz (13 points, seven rebounds) knocked down both free throws to retake a two-point lead, 73-71.
The Bison were led by freshman guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) and senior center Joshua McGriff (Somerset, N.J.), who went off in the first half with several monstrous dunks. Valencia scored 19 of his team-high 21 points in the first half while McGriff added 14 of his 18 points in the first half. McGriff was perfect on the afternoon, hitting all nine of his field goal attempts and registered six blocks.
The Nittany Lions bench came alive to combine for 48 points led by Baba Waples' 21 points.
- Senior guard Raymond Nelson (Riverside, Calif.) had 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals
- Sophomore guard Jawuan Jackson (Downey, Calif.) added four points, six rebounds and three assists
- Freshman guard Matthew Sherman (Angora, Minn.) came off the bench to add five points and two rebounds for the Bison
- McGriff tied his career-high six blocks
- GU outscored Penn St.-Berks in the paint, 40-22
- This was the closes game GU has had this season since the 69-66 win over Bryn Athyn on Nov. 29
- The Bison are 10-2 in the Field House this season
The Bison will have five days to rest before they host NEAC opponent Wells College (13-8, 10-4 NEAC) from the North Division on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. and will be wearing pink to show their support for breast cancer awareness.