FROSTBURG, Md. – Penn State Altoona men's basketball took its second straight loss to open the season on Saturday night, when the Lions were defeated 91-78 by non-conference opponent Frostburg State University in a hard-fought game at the Bobcat Arena.
Penn State Altoona (0-2) was plagued by issues with rebounding and defending the three-pointer, as the Lions were outrebounded 49-33 while surrendering 10 threes.
"Hats off to Coach Sean Brown and his team, as they were relentless on us, especially on the boards and behind the arc. We didn't do our jobs of running out on three-point shooters tonight and securing defensive rebounds, and that was the difference in the game," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "Every time we made a run, they answered with a big shot for three."
Jalen Archie-Davis (Norcross, GA/Norcross) led the Lions in scoring with 15 points, and he also led his team with six assists and three steals. Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds while blocking two shots. Austin Krise (Allport, PA/West Branch) and Malcolm Martin (Chicago, IL/Chicago Vocational) chipped in 11 points apiece.
Frostburg (2-0) got a game-high 28 points from Lawrence Pettis, including his 6-for-10 performance from three-point range. The Bobcats also got 10 points each from Jordan Dawson and Nicholas Johnson.
Frostburg opened the game on an 8-0 run, getting baskets from Daniel Alexander, Torrin Stephens, Bo Shene, and Pettis during the first 2:26 of the game. A layup from Dawson and free throw by Alexander increased the home team's lead to 11 points, 18-7, by 13:29.
Layups from Shandon Marshall (Brownsville, PA/Brownsville), Archie-Davis, and Gardner-Nicholson helped the Lions cut Frostburg's lead to four, 21-17, by the 8:27 mark. But the Bobcats responded with a 13-1 run, capped by Johnson's jumper at 4:56 which put the home team up 34-18.
Penn State Altoona put itself in a better position late in the half. Martin converted a three-point play at 1:16, getting a layup and sinking the ensuing foul shot. Y'shua Bragg (Pittsburgh, PA/Carrick) hit a pair of foul shots shortly thereafter, and Martin made another layup with 28 seconds left in the half to bring the Lions to within nine, 48-39.
The Lions were able to ride some of that momentum into the second half, continuing to whittle away at their deficit.
Gardner-Nicholson and Archie-Davis opened the second half scoring with layups, before Marshall Higley (Sayre, PA/Sayre) connected from three-point range and Krise scored a layup to cut Frostburg's lead to five, 53-48, by 17:38. Shevelle Bailey (Titusville, FL/Titusville) made it a one-point game just over two minutes later, hitting a jump shot and making a layup to cut Frostburg's advantage to 55-54 by 15:13.
But Frostburg again responded with a run to widen the gap, outscoring the Lions 10-2 over the next three-plus minutes. Jumpers from Desmond Lighty and Johnson sparked the run, and the Bobcats also got a three-pointer from Pettis, jump shot from Edwin Cole, and free throw from Terry Kenner to make it 65-56 by 12:06. Kenner's trey at 10:33 extended Frostburg's lead to 10 points, 68-58, and Dawson's tip-in basket at 9:05 made it 70-59.
Later in the period, Pettis connected from beyond the arc at 4:34 and Dawson made a layup at 3:51 to put Frostburg's lead at 12 points, 81-69. From that point on, the Bobcats maintained their lead to clinch the win.
"We did a better job of sharing the ball tonight and making free throws, but we had too many careless mistakes on offense and too many breakdowns on defense," said McGreal. "We are a young team who is playing a lot of new players, and it will take some time to get everyone on the same page. But once we do, I feel we will be able to play with anyone. Hopefully we can turn it around with our first home game on Tuesday."
Lions basketball hosts their first home contest of the season this upcoming Tuesday, November 20 against non-conference opponent Bethany College. Tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m.