WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University men's basketball team played its final home game of the regular-season Saturday and it was one to remember at the Field House. The Bison tangled with North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) foe Penn St.-Abington through four overtimes before coming up short, 94-84, on Senior Day.
With 13 seconds left in regulation, the Bison (6-17, 5-11 NEAC) were down three points, 62-59, to the Nittany Lions (13-9, 10-5 NEAC). Junior guard Ben Coleman (St. Paris, Ohio) drained a game-tying 3-pointer with four seconds left to send the game into overtime.
GU and Penn St.-Abington fought back-and-forth throughout the game as they decided the game after four overtime periods. The first overtime period only saw six points scored by each team, and it was freshman forward Joshua McGriff (Somerset, N.J.) who was able to make the final shot for the Bison, knotting the game up at 66 and forcing a second overtime.
The second overtime had both teams going shot-for-shot with each other. With 19 seconds left on the clock, the Nittany Lions were able to sink two free throw shots, pushing ahead of the Bison by two points, 76-74. With only five seconds remaining on the clock, Conrad Baer (Fremont, Calif.) drove the ball to the basket and put up a floater when a Penn St.-Abington player was called for goaltending to tie the game once more. The Nittany Lions pushed across half court and dished a pass out to the corner, where they lined up for a game-ending three, but McGriff had other plans, as he delivered a monstrous block to end the second overtime and force a third.
The third overtime only saw four points scored, ending with an Abington layup to force yet another overtime. In the first three overtime periods, there were seven ties as neither team led by more than two points.
It wasn't until the final overtime that the Nittany Lions were able to break away from the lockdown Bison defense, outscoring them 8-2 in the opening minute and a half, 86-80. The Bison were unable to recover in the final minutes, as the Nittany Lions maintained their lead, and ended the game after four overtimes.
With 6:25 remaining in the first half, the Bison held a 16-point lead over Penn St.-Abington with a score of 30-14. In the next five minutes the Bison would see this lead diminish as the Nittany Lions went on an 22-0 run, gaining the lead and going up by six points, 36-30. Sophomore guard Trey Gordon (Talladega, Ala.) was able to slow things down and end the Nittany Lions scoring onslaught with a mid-range jump shot, as the Bison went into halftime down 38-34.
The Lions carried their lead through the first five minutes of the second half, but the Bison continued to fight back and with two 3-point shots from Coleman and Gordon. GU was able to take the lead by two, 46-44. With eight minutes remaining, Penn St.-Abington went on another scoring run, scoring eight straight points as it held a 59-50 advantage. The Bison continued to fight and were able to outscore the Lions 12-3, ultimately forcing the first of four overtimes.
The Bison had three players score 20 or more points in today's electrifying four overtime game. McGriff posted a double-double with his game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds as well as four blocks. Also scoring 28 points was Gordon, who posted a double-double as well with his 12 rebounds. Coleman put up 20 points and five assists before he fouled out.
The Nittany Lions were led by Max Alton who posted a team best 22 points to go with seven rebounds and two steals.
Today's game marked Senior Day for the Bison as the men's basketball program paid tribute to senior Orion Palmer (Riverside, Calif.) prior to the start of the game. Palmer, who has been sidelined with an injury since Feb. 2, played his final home game at the Field House back on Jan. 28. He concludes his two-year career with 472 points, 327 rebounds, 124 assists, 39 steals and 34 blocks in 40 games played (35 starts).
Gallaudet will close out the season on the road next weekend as they travel New York to take on conference opponent Morrisville St. on Friday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m.
The Gallaudet University men's basketball team with senior Orion Palmer (center)