WASHINGTON - A full team effort was required Thursday evening as the Gallaudet University men's basketball team edged past Penn St.-Abington, 76-66, to pick-up their ninth win of the season and remain undefeated in North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) competition.
The Bison (9-3, 7-0 NEAC) appeared to be in trouble mid-way through the second half. The Nittany Lions (4-7, 3-3 NEAC) tied the game 46-46 with 11:41 left in regulation, after the Bison had led by as many as 11 in the first half. However, the Bison stampeded back with baskets from six different players to go on a 20-7 run and take a 13-point lead with 4:29 left.
Although it seemed like the 13-point deficit would be too much for Penn St.-Abington to overcome, the Nittany Lions roared back once again to cut the Bison lead to four points, 68-64, with 1:18 left on the clock.
In the last 78 seconds of the game, four Bison were sent to the free-throw line where they converted on 7 of 10 free throws to secure the victory.
Four different Bison finished in double figures led by freshman guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) who chalked up 21 points, dished out five assists and brought in three rebounds. Junior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) and junior guard Derek Keels (San Diego, Calif.), who came off the bench, each finished with 11 points. Cruz added 11 rebounds to complete his seventh double-double of the season.
The Nittany lions were led by John Ryan who posted 13 points and 14 rebounds.
- Senior center Joshua McGriff (Somerset, N.J.) found himself in foul trouble early in the game and was limited to just 16 minutes but still managed to post 10 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and one steal
- Senior center Shawn Harrington (Frederick, Md.) replaced McGriff on the floor and put-up nine points, five rebounds and two steals for the Bison
- Sophomore guard Jawaun Jackson (Downey, Calif.) had eight points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists
- Keels scored a career-high 11 points
- GU outscored Penn St.-Abington 36-26 in the paint
- The Bison scored 14 fast-break points
- Gallaudet out-rebounded Penn St.-Abington 46-37 and scored 20 points off of 19 offensive rebounds
- This is the third straight game the Bison have had six blocks as a team
- This was the second game the Bison posted a season-high 14 steals
Gallaudet will travel to Morristown, N.J., to take on the College of Saint Elizabeth (2-7, 1-4 NEAC) in a conference game on Satruday, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m.