by Ross Turetsky
Media, PA- On Saturday afternoon, Penn State Scranton's men's basketball team swept their season series against conference foe Penn State Brandywine in an absolute nail biter that came down to the final buzzer, as they captured the crucial 112-110 double overtime road victory. Earlier this season, all the way back on December 3rd, Scranton won another close contest against Brandywine, when they edged them out 102-97 on their home court. Now with only three games left in the regular season, all in conference play, Scranton finds themselves on a two game winning streak, both victories coming on the road this week against Penn State Hazleton and Brandywine, as they improve their overall record to 6-16 and 4-12 in the all-important conference play.
Scranton and Brandywine were equally matched and played a neck-in-neck game all day long, as the contest was tied 10 times and 22 lead changes took place on the day. As the end of the first half buzzer sounded, both squads were locked in a hotly contested game, as Brandywine had a slight three point advantage, 38-35. It was virtually the same story in the second half, as Scranton had a three point scoring edge in the half, and the game was all knotted up at 86-86 after 40 minutes of hard fought basketball action. One five minute overtime session would not suffice and result in a winner, as again both teams each scored 15 points in the frame and were all tied up at 101-101. Finally in the second overtime, the tie was lifted when with only five seconds remaining in the period, stand-out Scranton sophomore, Rob McAndrew, connected on a clutch jump shot to give his team the two point, 112-110 advantage, and when Brandywine's star player Pat Gallagher failed to make his layup at the closing buzzer, the lead was secure once and for all in this wild back and forth ball game.
A big key to Penn State Scranton's road triumph was their advantage in rebounds, 63 to 49, as well as a big lead in points in the paint, 58-46. Another integral factor in such a close game with a very small margin for error, was Scranton's big advantage from the charity stripe on the free throw line. Scranton made 18 of their 23 free throw attempts, a solid 78.3 percentage they shot, meanwhile Brandywine struggled only making eight of sixteen free throw attempts, and shot a mere 50 percent from the line.
Scranton had all five of their starters score in double figures, and even had three of them notch double-doubles in the matchup, as the squad shot a solid 44.3 percent from the field. The team was led by the stalwart play from their junior point guard Matt Dessoye, who scored a team-high 34 points, to go along with five assists and four rebounds, in his 47 minutes of play. Fellow junior, Arel Lamour, also put up solid numbers, as he tallied a double-double, with his 22 points and 10 boards. McAndrew, who hit the game winning shot, also continued his double-double prowess he has shown all season long, as he poured in 21 points and a team-high 16 rebounds. Fellow sophomore, Cameron Jordan, scored 14 points, to go along with his well-rounded game of three rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Last but certainly not least, sophomore Melick Lubin, was another big contributor, as he also notched a double-double in the game, with his 13 points and 16 boards, as his last rebound on the day secured the victory at the buzzer.
Meanwhile, Penn State Brandywine also had all of their five starting players score in double figures, as two of them tallied double-doubles, and the squad as a whole shot the ball well from the field at 45.3 percent. The team was led by Gallagher, who scored a game-high 40 points, to go along with his five rebounds and six assists. Bryce Barrouk had a double-double, as he poured in 23 points and 11 rebounds, as he connected on four of his ten three point attempts. Jordan Graves added a solid 14 points and five assists. Ketquan Gatewood had Brandywine's other double-double in the matchup, as he put up 12 points and 16 rebounds in his stellar afternoon. Finally, Andrew Persaud had a nice, well-rounded game, as he scored 11 points, to go along with his five boards and five assists. With the hard fought defeat, Penn State Brandywine drops their overall record to 5-18 and their conference record falls to 5-12 on the season.
Now head coach Chris Sload and his Penn State Scranton men's basketball squad will look to continue their winning ways and capture their seventh victory of the season, when they host conference foe Penn State Lehigh Valley this Tuesday evening on Senior Night, in the team's final home game of the regular season. Scranton won the earlier matchup this season on the road against Lehigh Valley back on January 28th, in a thrilling one point, 77-76 triumph, as they will now look to sweep the two game season series. The men's game will tip-off at 8 pm, after the Penn State Scranton women's basketball team hosts Lehigh Valley at 6 pm and in between the ball games, Senior basketball players and cheerleaders will be honored for their great years of service and dedication to their craft.