By: Evan Pinchot
Monaca, Pa -- The Penn State Beaver men's basketball team played host to Penn State Brandywine for a big conference matchup. Beaver came into this game needing to improve on their conference record in order to make a run for the PSUAC playoffs, and a win over Brandywine would be just what the team needs.
The game started off well for Beaver, as they quickly jumped ahead in the first few minutes of play. Junior Eric Gallupe (Sewickley, Pa / Avonworth) scored the first 8 points of the game for Beaver, hitting 2 threes back to back to get the momentum going for the team. However, Brandywine soon began answering back, and for the first ten minutes of the half it was a back and forth battle between two teams playing very well. With about 9 minutes to go in the first half, it was Brandywine who was able to pull ahead with the games first big lead. Beaver really started to struggle as their offense slowed down, and as the game went into the half they were down by a score of 47-37.
As the second half started, Beaver quickly began cutting down on Brandywine's lead as the team came out energized and more focused than they were at the end of the first half. The two teams once again were going back and forth, trading off points as Beaver steadily gained ground against a team playing just as well as them. With seven minutes left to play, it was Eric Gallupe who once again made a three, this time to tie the game up and effectively kill all momentum Brandywine had gained in the first. As time ticked away, the two time were once again locked in a back and forth battle, and while Beaver was able to retake the lead late in the half, they weren't able to hang on as Brandywine was able to tie the game at 87-87 to force the game into overtime.
As overtime started, it was apparent that Brandywine had retaken control of the game and they used that momentum to jump out to an early lead against Beaver. With the crowd noise the loudest it had been all game Beaver was able to feed off of that energy, coming through and keeping the game close after letting up an early lead. As time ran down, Brandywine was able to come up with some big takeaways that lead to their tying the game with under a minute to go. The game came down to one final mistake by Beaver, as they turned the ball over and were forced to foul Brandywine, sending them to the line where they would make their free throws to take the lead one final time. As Beaver heaved up a desperation shot time ran out, and Brandywine ended up taking home the win by a final score of 99-96.
With their loss to Brandywine, Beaver currently holds an 8-9 overall record while dropping to 4-4 in conference play. While the team played well, this game came down to Beaver's turnovers and their inability to make free throws that eventually cost the team the win. Beaver was led in this game by Junior Eric Gallupe, who scored a team high 30 points while hauling in 9 rebounds. The team was also helped by the play of Freshman Dominique Stevenson (Rochester, NY / Ithaca) who played a good all-around game with 8 points, 3 steals, 8 assists, and 9 rebounds. The team will play next on Saturday, January 21, at home against Penn State Lehigh Valley. Game time is set for 3 pm.