Berkeley College (NJ) men's basketball team outlasts Penn State Fayette 91-88 in overtime in play-in round of 2014 USCAA National Basketball Tournament

The No. 7 seeded Berkeley College (NJ) men’s basketball team picked up a thrilling victory on Wednesday evening, defeating the No. 10 seeded Roaring Lions of Penn State Fayette by a score of 91-88 in overtime in the play-in game of the 2014 USCAA National Basketball Tournament at the Main Arena in Uniontown, PA. With the victory, the Knights improved to a record of 18-10 on the season and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the tourney, where they will face No. 2 seeded Penn State York at 2:00pm. Penn State Fayette will face Berkeley College (NY) tomorrow at 1:15pm.

In what was a tightly-contested first half, the teams found themselves knotted at 17 with 6:09 remaining in the opening stanza. The Roaring Lions then put together a 7-0 run over the ensuing 1:58, a spurt that included a basket and two converted free throws by junior forward Matt McKenna, and a three-point basket by junior forward Dierre Jenkins. With 4:11 left in the session, Penn State Fayette led 24-17.

The Knights turned up the voltage following that 7-0 run by the Roaring Lions, as Berkeley answered with a 13-0 run of its own, a stretch that was highlighted by five points from junior guard Darryl Robinson (freshman guard Jabree Jackson also accounted for four points during the run). Berkeley held a 30-24 lead, and would eventually enter the locker room at halftime holding a 37-33 edge.

In the second half, there were a number of occasions where it appeared as though the Knights would run away with the game, but Penn State Fayette battled each time and stayed in the game. Berkeley opened up its biggest lead of the game – a 10 point edge (47-37) – following a layup from Andrew Tomlin. A 15-4 Roaring Lions run – capped by a three-point basket by junior guard Derek Jones – gave Penn State Fayette a 52-51 lead with 12:41 to go.

The Knights regained their composure and eventually jumped back ahead 66-59 with 9:39 left, and later, Berkeley seemed to be in prime position to win the game up 78-72 with just 3:20 remaining. The Roaring Lions would not go away though, outscoring the Knights 6-0 over the ensuing 1:43 to tie the game at 78 apiece.

With time winding down in regulation, and the Knights holding for one shot, Berkeley put the ball in the hands of sophomore guard Dukens Germain, who has made so many clutch shots throughout the season for his team. His three-point attempt at the buzzer was off, though, sending the game into overtime.

In the extra period, the Knights scored the first four points, thanks to baskets by freshmen William Morton and Thaddeus Dalton. Berkeley College led 82-78, but a 5-0 run by Penn State Fayette gave the Roaring Lions an 83-82 advantage with 2:58 left. 55 seconds later, a basket by Dalton pushed Berkeley back ahead 84-83, but a three point play by Penn State Fayette’s McKenna gave the Roaring Lions an 86-84 lead.

Over the next 53 seconds of overtime, the teams would trade baskets, and Penn State Fayette held an 88-86 lead. Germain then drove to the basket and converted on a layup, tying the game at 88 apiece. Later - a made free throw by sophomore guard Hassan Abdullah, and a pair of converted freebees by Morton, gave the Knights a 91-88 lead.

Berkeley’s Tasheen Carrow went to the free throw line with nine seconds remaining, and with Penn State Fayette out of timeouts, just one made free throw would have likely sealed the deal, as it would have made it a two possession game. Carrow, however, misfired on both free throws, giving Penn State Fayette a chance to tie. Sophomore Luke Williams’ desperation three point shot at the buzzer was off, though, giving the Knights the victory as Berkeley College’s bench erupted in celebration.

In the victory for the Knights, Morton paced his squad with a team-high 24 points (while converting all seven of his attempts from the charity stripe) and grabbing three rebounds while also tallying two steals. Junior forward Carl O’Neil added 11 points and seven rebounds, and Germain finalized his night with 10 points and seven caroms.

Despite the loss for the Roaring Lions, Penn State Fayette got a tremendous effort from McKenna, as he posted game-highs in points with 27 and rebounds with 10. Sophomore guard 
C.J. Gaddis and Williams each dropped in 12 points apiece, and junior guard Jones added 10.

The Knights shot a blistering 47.9 percent from the floor for the night (35-73) while holding the Roaring Lions to just 38.8 percent shooting (26-67). Berkeley dished 16 assists to Penn State Fayette’s 13, and the Knights also held a staggering 52-23 edge in bench points. The Roaring Lions out-rebounded Berkeley College 49-42, while also connecting on 10 three point baskets to the Knights’ one.

Keep it posted to Berkeley College’s athletics website - http://berkeleycollege.edu/athletics/ - for all of the latest 2014 USCAA National Basketball Tournament information.