By: Matylda Zamudio
Monaca, Pa. – The Penn State Beaver men's basketball team started the new year off right with a second-half charge that fueled a home-victory over Kent State Tuscarawas on Friday night.
Junior guard John Foster (Austin/Del Valle) topped Beaver's scoring list with a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds for Beaver followed by PSUAC Player of the Week sophomore forward Andrew Brady (Alliance/Marlington), who dished out 23 points. Freshman guard Keon Butler (Annapolis/Star Severn School) also had a notable performance with 17 points and led the game in assists with nine of his own.
1st half: Tuscarawas opened the scoring with a quick layup, which was immediately answered by Foster layup for Beaver (2-2) and the game remained within a few points with several lead changes down to the two-minute mark. But a late layup by Brady facilitated a 7-point run to give Beaver a 3-point edge over Tuscarawas to end the first half (31-28).
2nd half: As the second half began, Tuscarawas quickly tied the score up at 31-31, which forced a time-out by the Lions. But the team got focused and took the lead once again thanks to four straight points by Foster (35-31). But Tuscarawas didn't waver, and the teams began exchanging leads once again down and then tie the game at 54-54 at the 7:47 mark. However, two turnovers by Tuscarawas helped momentum shift to the Lions as they forged an 8-point run in a little over a minute, forcing Tuscarawas to call a timeout (62-54). Beaver controlled the tempo for the remainder of the game as the defense forced another three late turnovers and held Tuscarawas to only 8 points for the last six minutes as the offense kept its foot on the gas, which prompted an 82-62 victory for Beaver.
Box Score Highlights: Beaver outshot Tuscarawas 52.5 percent to 43.1 percent from the field, shot 20.2 percent better from 3-point range, hitting 10-15 from behind the arch and shot 16.7 higher from the charity stripe. The Lions also outscored Tuscarawas 19-2 in points off turnovers, 11-7 on second-chance points and 36-28 in the paint. Beaver outrebounded Williamson Trade 32-20, earned seven more assists, allotted only four turnovers to Tuscarawas' 12 in the game.
With today's win against Tuscarawas, Beaver improves to an 8-3 regular season record and still holds down first place in the PSUAC-West.
Beaver will return for some conference action at home against Penn State Greater Allegheny on Monday, Jan. 7. The game is slated for 8 p.m.