ALTOONA, Pa. – The Penn State Altoona men's basketball team had a banner day on the offensive end of the court Saturday afternoon, cruising to a 112-91 win over Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent D'Youville College in the Adler Auxiliary Gym.
The Lions (5-2, 3-2 AMCC) created several new entries in the program's single game records. The team's total of 112 points is tied for the third-most in a game, and its 45 field goals made is also the third-most. Additionally, Penn State Altoona finished with the sixth-most rebounds in a game by grabbing 57 boards as a team, and the Lions tied for the eighth-most blocks (9) and tied for the ninth-most assists (24) in a game.
"Very proud of today's performance, especially on the offensive end. We were able to establish our game in the paint, but we also had the ability to score in transition," said Penn State Altoona head coach David McGreal. "D'Youville is a team that likes to play up-tempo, and we were able to put pressure on them throughout the game and score in transition very effectively."
Cameron Gardner-Nicholson (Philadelphia, PA/Boys' Latin Charter) had a dominant showing for Penn State Altoona, both offensively and defensively. Gardner-Nicholson posted his third double-double of the season by leading the Lions with a season-high 24 points to go along with 13 rebounds, and he also blocked two shots. His total of 24 points was powered by an 11-for-12 shooting performance from the field.
Andruw Harman (Chesapeake, VA/Great Bridge) scored 20 points and added nine rebounds, three steals, and three assists. Jack Kusters (Quakertown, PA/Lansdale Catholic) finished with 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Robbie Hicks (Rockledge, FL/Rockledge) had 13 points, three steals, and three assists, and Austin Krise (Allport, PA/West Branch) contributed 12 points off the bench.
Clevon Scott (Raeford, NC/Hoke County) posted career-highs with nine rebounds, seven points, and a game-high four blocks, and Trey Butterworth (Clarence, PA/Bald Eagle) also notched a career-high by distributing a game-high seven assists.
"Great performance by Cam. He really dominated the game and played tremendously on both ends of the floor," said McGreal. "Also another great performance by Andruw at both ends of the floor. Austin was a big jolt of energy off the bench, and we got the best performance of Clevon's career, especially on the defensive end of the floor by blocking shots. Jack and Robbie also both had another good game."
D'Youville (1-7, 0-5 AMCC) got a game-high 26 points from Grant Beyer, while Devon Darrell and Simeon Heard scored 11 points each.
Penn State Altoona worked its way to a 9-3 lead to start the game, but D'Youville charged back to tie the score 11-11, helped by Darrell's layup and foul shot and Darrius Hartzog's three-pointer.
But the Lions responded by reeling off a 12-1 run, sparked by Scott's three-pointer and capped by a Gardner-Nicholson layup. Another bucket from Gardner-Nicholson at 8:13 boosted Penn State Altoona's lead into double digits, 29-18.
D'Youville pushed back again, going on a 12-2 run late in the first half to turn Penn State Altoona's 37-27 lead into a tie score, 39-39. Back-to-back baskets from Noah Denz evened the score at 39 by the 1:41 mark.
Penn State Altoona finished the first period on a strong note, using a pair of foul shots from Harman and Hicks' three-pointer to secure a 44-39 lead by the intermission.
In the second half, the Lions exploded to put 68 points on the board.
Penn State Altoona started the second half on a 10-2 run, highlighted by Harman's fastbreak dunk that put his team ahead 54-41 at 17:42. Four straight layups from Gardner-Nicholson increased the Lions' advantage to 62-49, and three-pointers by Kusters and Krise helped the home team expand its lead to 72-55 by the 12:18 mark. Another Krise trey at 11:15 made it 77-55.
The Lions continued to click on all cylinders, and the team took its largest lead of the day at 7:38, when back-to-back Hicks layups gave Penn State Altoona an 89-64 lead. The Lions hit the century mark at 4:38 on two free throws by Kusters, and the team went on to prevail by 21 points.
By game's end, Penn State Altoona had established big scoring advantages over D'Youville in points in the paint (66-40) and fastbreak points (35-23), and the Lions also led in second chance points (24-19) and bench points (38-32).
At 5-2 overall and riding a three-game winning streak, Penn State Altoona men's basketball now has its best win percentage entering winter break in program history. The win also improved the Lions' record to 12-3 in games played in the Adler Auxiliary Gym during McGreal's tenure as head coach.
Now Penn State Altoona men's basketball will head into a layoff, as next week is the campus' finals week, followed by winter break. The Lions will return to action on Friday, December 27 and Saturday, December 28, traveling to Winchester, Va. to compete in the Shenandoah Shootout at Shenandoah University. Penn State Altoona opens the two-day event against Southern Virginia University at 7:00 p.m. that Friday.
"Most importantly today, we were able to get the win and keep moving in the right direction. Being 5-2 at the break is one of the better records that Penn State Altoona has had, and hopefully we can continue to build on it," said McGreal. "We're going to take a break now to concentrate on schools and exams, and to spend time with our families, and then we get back to work at the Shenandoah tournament."