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Bison fall short in NEAC opener

Gallaudet men's basketball coach Kevin Kovacs signs instructions to his team, who is sitting on the bench.

ABINGTON, Pa. - Gallaudet University had a chance to tie the game in the waning seconds but a missed free throw left the Bison a point short on the road at Penn St.-Abington in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men's basketball opener for both teams. Time ran out on the Bison comeback as they fell 89-86 to the Nittany Lions.

Gallaudet (0-6, 0-1 NEAC) took a 41-38 lead into halftime as it led for the majority of the first half. The two NEAC South Division squads shot 50 percent from the field and over 40 percent from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes of play.

Junior guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the first half as he made 5 of 11 shots from the floor. He finished with his second 20-plus point game this season and passed out a season-high seven assists and grabbed four rebounds. Valencia now has 980 career points in his three years as a Bison.

The visiting Bison led for the first few minutes in the second half before Penn St.-Abington (3-2, 1-0 NEAC) went on a 24-9 run in a six-minute span to take a 64-54 lead.

GU battled back and pulled to within three points, 77-74, on a layup made by senior center Jamal Garner (Jacksonville, Ill.) at the 4:09 mark.

The Nittany Lions increased their lead to eight points before the Bison trimmed it back to four points, 85-81, with a minute left. Valencia later drained his second 3-pointer with 20 seconds left as GU only trailed by three, 87-84.

Penn St.-Abington turned the ball over which allowed Valencia to get fouled on a 3-point attempt. He went to the free throw line where he made 2 of 3 shots to cut the margin to one, 87-86.

Penn St.-Abington added two free throws to close out the contest.

Junior guard Trace Martin (Shingle Springs, Calif.) scored 19 points off the bench as he made four 3-pointers and freshman guard Corey Smith (Miami, Fla.) kicked in 10 points as a reserve. Junior center Steve Valencia-Biskupiak (Riverside, Calif.) scored 17 points down in the low post and ripped down seven rebounds and made one block. Garner finished with eight points and five rebounds.

The Nittany Lions had four players in double figures led by Pernell Ghee and Devin Hill, who scored 23 and 22 points, respectively.


  • The Bison scored 42 points in the paint
  • Gallaudet netted 33 points off 20 turnovers
  • GU's bench chipped in 35 points led by Martin and Smith
  • Penn St.-Abington held a 41-29 edge in rebounds
  • GU went 0-6 in November

Gallaudet returns home to host Penn St.-Berks (0-8, 0-1 NEAC) on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 4 p.m.