WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University's mens basketball triumphed over Penn St.-Abington, 74-71, in a North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) game Saturday afternoon in the Field House on Padden Court in the Bison's regular-season finale on Senior Day.
The Bison (9-16, 8-8 NEAC) came out of the gates fast and led from start-to-finish in the three-point win over the Nittany Lions (10-13, 8-8 NEAC) to improve its postseason seeding. Gallaudet led 36-29 at the half and increased its lead to 10 points with 2:57 left in regulation. The Nittany Lions made their move and cut the Gallaudet lead to one, 72-71, after Kevin Raymond made a three-pointer with 53 seconds left on the clock. Gallaudet used several timeouts to regroup and held on to win its ninth game of the season.
Sophomore guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) posted a game-high 27 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Senior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) secured a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds to go with a game-high six assists and four blocks. Sophomore guard Trace Martin (Shingle Springs, Calif.) was quick on his feet with game-high three steals, 11 points and two assists. Junior center Jamal Garner (Jacksonville, Ill.) scored the last points of the game, off a nice assist from freshman Shawn Daniels (Lakeland, Fla.), to thwart a Lion last-second comeback.
The leading scorer for Penn St.-Abington was Devin Hill with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists. Following him was Jay Fitzgerald, who scored 17 points, nine rebounds and two steals off the bench. Forwards John Ryan (11 points) and Jordan Lomax both grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
- GU outscored Penn St.-Abington for points in the paint, 32-26
- Gallaudet had 12 second-chance points
- Both teams grabbed 45 rebounds each
- Gallaudet scored 11 points off 17 Nittany Lion turnovers
- GU shot 40 percent from the field (26-for-65)
The GU men's basketball team honored its senior Andy Cruz before the start of the game. Cruz has dedicated four years of his time and effort to the men's basketball program and will be greatly missed.
#21 Andy Cruz
Cruz is a four-year letterwinner and has started in 88 of the 101 games that he has played in. He has tallied 1,189 points, 757 rebounds, 77 blocks, 197 steals and 210 assists. Cruz has the most wins in any four-year history of Gallaudet basketball with 65. In 2016-17, he was named to the All-NEAC second team. This season, he has earned NEAC Men's Basketball Student-Athlete of the Week twice. Lastly, he was voted the Division III Men's Basketball HERO of the Week on Feb. 2.
Gallaudet will travel to Wilson College (19-6) on Tuesday, Feb. 20, to face the Phoenix in the NEAC tournament quarterfinals. The winner of that quarterfinal game will advance to the NEAC championship weekend at the site of the highest remaining seed on Feb. 24-25.