NEAC Championship Game
Penn State Harrisburg 76, Lancaster Bible 69 (OT)
Baylor-Carroll, Haynes, Scott III, Curry, Daniels
B. Beachy, Beers, Afoakwah, E. Beachy, Shrewbridge
How It Happened
Penn State Harrisburg erased a five-point deficit in the final 1:12 of regulation and completed a furious overtime comeback to defeat Lancaster Bible 76-69 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship Game at the Capital Union Building on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 29.
With the title game victory, the Lions (20-7) clinched a berth in the upcoming NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. It is the program's first-ever conference championship.
Donyae Baylor-Carroll was named the NEAC Tournament's most valuable player (MVP) thanks to his 23 points, eight of which came in the extra session, four assists, three rebounds and three steals. Nate Curry and Zegary Scott III netted 16 points apiece, while Pedro Rodriguez added 11 points and eight boards off the bench. Dylan Daniels flirted with a double-double, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Chargers (14-14) erased a 10-point second-half deficit and pulled ahead when Jordan Shewbridge converted a pair of free throws with 3:45 left in regulation. The first-team all-conference guard followed it up with a contested corner 3-ball on the team's next possession and following a pair of Scott III foul shots, buried a mid-range jumper to put the visitors out in front 64-59 with 1:33 remaining.
Head coach Don Friday burned a timeout and following the break, Baylor-Carroll reinforced his NEAC Player of the Year status when he connected on a deep 3-pointer with a hand in his face from straight away to make it a one-possession game with 1:11 left. After an LBC shot clock violation and a 30-second timeout, Scott III converted a driving layup to tie things up with 23 seconds remaining. The Lions forced another turnover in the closing moments of regulation to force overtime and keep their title hopes alive.
Baylor-Carroll began the opening session with an offensive rebound and Scott III finished off a contested layup to put the home team back out in front. Following a Charger free throw, Baylor-Carroll laid one in himself to extend the advantage to 68-65 with 3:19 left. The visitors added two more foul shots but Baylor-Carroll answered back with another pretty finger roll at the 1:20 mark.
Lancaster Bible came up empty on its ensuing possession and Baylor-Carroll grabbed a board and pushed it ahead to Rodriguez who followed his own initial miss with a putback that stretched the lead to five with 45 seconds remaining. The Chargers miss on the other end forced them to foul and Baylor-Carroll buried four consecutive free throws to put a cap on the scoring, clinch the conference title and send the hometown faithful into a frenzy.
Penn State Harrisburg had appeared in two conference title games (2011, 2012) prior to Saturday's contest, twice coming up just short in overtime. The Lions exorcised those demons by earning the program's first-ever NEAC Championship in thrilling fashion and securing the first automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Inside the Numbers
- The Lions shot 40.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
- Lancaster Bible shot 41.8 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point territory.
- Penn State Harrisburg was a perfect 15-of-15 from the foul line.
- The Blue & White won the rebounding battle 40-33.
- The home team weathered LBC's early barrage that saw the Chargers shoot 58.3 percent from 3-point range in the first half.
- Donyae Baylor-Carroll was named the tournament's MVP after scoring 23 points, dishing out four assists, grabbing three rebounds and swiping three steals. He also went 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.
- Pedro Rodriguez racked up 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
- Dylan Daniels finished with eight points, 10 boards and three blocks.
- Jordan Shewbridge led the way for Lancaster Bible, scoring a game-high 30 points.
The Lions will learn their NCAA Division III Tournament First-Round opponent when the NCAA releases the complete bracket during its annual selection show on Monday afternoon, March 2.