Story by Penn State Harrisburg's Kenny Stone
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - On Saturday afternoon, Jan. 11, Penn State Harrisburg's men's basketball team was playing for something much bigger than another conference win against a quality opponent, they were playing to help a family cope with a tragedy. On Saturday, Penn State Harrisburg partnered with Owen's Foundation for the first ever "Orange 4 Owen" game, in hopes of bringing awareness to the serious issue of distracted driving.
On the floor though, the Lions had to face a mighty opponent of their own, the 14th-ranked Captains of Christopher Newport. There was a buzz in the Capital Union Building during warm-ups and the Lions looked as if they were determined to do something special this afternoon. By the time the final buzzer sounded, that's exactly what happened as Penn State Harrisburg took down the nationally-ranked Captains 63-60 in an instant classic overtime thriller.
The game opened up with both teams taking turns making runs against one another, starting with the Lions opening the game with a 9-4 advantage with the timeframe being capped with a layup from senior captain Kenny Stone (Philadelphia, Pa. / Scotland) that forced a Christopher Newport timeout. Then it was the Captains' turn to make a run of their own, and they did so by answering with a 15-7 spurt to take a 19-16 lead on a layup by preseason All-American Tra Benefield, forcing the Lions to take a timeout of their own. The first half ended with both teams playing some stingy defense and Penn State Harrisburg holding a one-point lead at 22-21 heading into the break.
The second half started with a Winton Lyle (Washington D.C / Bullis School) layup to give the Lions a three-point lead at 24-21. Then, Christopher Newport used an 18-4 run capped by a Connor Laframboise three-pointer to give the Captains their largest lead of the game at 39-28. Blue & White freshman Marquese Daniels (Philadelphia, Pa. / Philadelphia Electric & Technology Charter) answered back with an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the Lions' deficit to eight. After getting a defensive stop, the Lions cut the lead to six thanks to a Rayshaun Anderson-Brown (Carlisle, Pa. / Carlisle) jump shot. After a Captains' three-point play, Daniels answered right back with a three-pointer of his own. Penn State Harrisburg then used an 8-4 run to cut the deficit back to two at 46-44.
While facing a five-point deficit with less than two minutes left, senior captain Will Doyle (Franklin, Va. / Tidewater Academy) hit a huge three-pointer to cut the deficit to 52-50. After a Stone layup tied the game, Christopher Newport took a three-point lead with just nine seconds to go. Then, Doyle struck again when he hit the biggest shot of his collegiate career; a tough three-pointer off the dribble falling to his left right in front of the Penn State Harrisburg bench to send the game into overtime.
Lyle started the extra session by scoring on back-to-back possessions. After a Penn State Harrisburg free throw, they clung to a five-point lead until a Laframboise three-pointer cut their lead to two. But Joey Farthing (Lancaster, Pa. / Hempfield) had ice water in his veins when he hit two free throws to give the Lions the lead for good.
The Lions were lead in scoring by their co-captains Stone and Doyle, who had 16 and 14 points, respectively. Farthing led the Lions in rebounding with seven and Daniels led the Lions in assists with four.
The win was Penn State Harrisburg's first over a ranked opponent in program history and it improved the Blue & White to 6-7 overall and 3-2 in Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) play.
The Lions will next be in action this coming Wednesday night, Jan. 15 on the road against Marymount (Va.) at 8 p.m.
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Photos and video courtesy of Penn State Harrisburg's Victoria Masse and Martika Porr