MIDDLETOWN, Pa- For the second time in less than a month, Penn State Harrisburg hit the road for a tough non-conference match-up against a big time program. For the second time in less than a month, the Lions emerged victorious. Senior captain Kenton Alston (Harrisburg, PA/Steel-High) nailed a three-pointer with seven seconds to play to give Penn State Harrisburg a thrilling 74-73 overtime victory over Messiah College on Tuesday night, Dec. 6.
The Falcons jumped out to an early 10-2 lead but the blue and white used an 8-2 run to close out the first half and bring the deficit to just one entering the break.
In the second period, the Lions took the lead for the first time and extended their advantage to 42-33 with 12 minutes remaining. But just as Penn State Harrisburg did in the first half, the Falcons responded, went on a run and tied things up at 44 just three minutes later.
Trailing 57-53 late in regulation, the Lions used back-to-back three-balls from sophomore guard Will Doyle (Franklin, VA/Tidewater Academy) and junior point guard Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, PA/Manheim Central) to take a two-point lead with 1:21 left on the clock.
But Messiah sophomore Christyan DeVan (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East) scored his only points of the contest and tied things up on the Falcons next possession. When neither team scored in the game's final minute, it was on to overtime.
The blue and white twice took five-point leads thanks to Amani Glenn's (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East) three-pointer and an Alston jumper with 2:21 left in the extra session. From there, the Lions went cold and struggled to score another field goal.
While the visitors failed to score, the Falcons clawed their way back, erased the deficit and took the lead with 16 seconds left in the game. Momentum had clearly swung in Messiah's favor.
Until Alston smashed the game-winner.
Messiah sophomore David Fernandez (Miami, FL/Florida Christian School) had a tremendous game and scored a game-high 30 points. But his failure to convert the potential game-tying free-throw with 0.5 seconds remaining soured an otherwise stellar performance.
Alston led the way for Penn State Harrisburg, scoring 22 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Junior Steve Jones (Harrisburg, PA/Harrisburg) added 14 points but was even better on defense where he recorded nine steals. Glenn notched 14 points and grabbed six boards and Gatchell scored ten and racked up a game-high seven assists. Doyle had one of his best efforts of the year, scoring 13 points while going 3-5 from beyond the arc, collecting seven rebounds and dishing out three assists.
This win, coupled with a season-opening victory over Elizabethtown on Nov. 15, gave the Lions their second impressive non-conference victory of the young season.
Penn State Harrisburg improved to 5-2 on the year and extended its recent win streak to four games.
The Lions will look to keep things rolling when they hit the hardwood in King's College's two-day tournament this weekend.