ERIE, Pa. – The Wells College men's basketball team posted a season-opening 77-43 loss to the Nittany Lions of Penn State Behrend Friday evening at the Junker Center. The Express now have an 0-5 record in their five year program history in the season-opening contest, falling to 0-1 overall on the season following this evening's non-conference tilt. The Nittany Lions improve to 1-0 on the year.
Penn State Behrend, who led all Division III men's basketball programs last season in scoring defense, held the Express to only 43 points, the lowest amount scored by the Express in program history.
A jump shot by Jordan Bishop (Arlington, Texas) granted the Express a 4-3 lead only 1:59 into the first half, but the Nittany Lions never looked back from that point onward, maintaining their lead from that point onward. Three point baskets from Pat St. Andrews and Nick DeLisio extended their first half lead to 13-4 with 15:44 remaining in the first half.
Trailing by nine points near the midpoint of the first half, the Express were able to close the deficit by scoring eight straight points. Layups by junior Jonathan Hurtado (Brooklyn, N.Y.), sophomore Ryan Hood (Massillon, Ohio) and junior Tyler Walker (Spencer, N.Y.) preceded two Hurtado free throws to bring the score to 18-17 at 11:36 of the first half. However, the Express missed their next five shots and granted the Nittany Lions opportunities to rebuild their lead.
Despite a three point basket from junior E.J. Taylor (Tampa Bay, Fla.) with 6:57 remaining in the first half to bring the score to 27-20, the Nittany Lions utilized two free throws, a jumper and another Pat St. Andrews' three pointer to open up a 14 point spread with time ticking down in the first half. A successful foul shot by Hood was sandwiched between Andrews' three pointer and nine straight Penn State Behrend baskets to conclude the half, opening up a 24 point lead entering the half.
Coming out of the dressing room, the Express missed six consecutive shots before Taylor converted a layup with 17:56 remaining in the first half. At that point, the Nittany Lions had already two jump shots to create a 28 point advantage. The deficit for the Express, at its largest, was 37 points following a Zane Hackett field goal from the paint with 2:19 remaining.
Cumulatively for the Express, Taylor led the Express with nine points to his credit, converting both of Wells' three point baskets. Walker set a career-high mark with seven points, placing second on the team in that category. Junior Jonathan Bonds (Chicago, Ill.) led the way for the Express with eight total rebounds, leading the team in his 23 minutes of action.
For the Nittany Lions, Russ Conley and DeLisio each recorded 21 points in the contest. Conley chipped in with 13 rebounds while DeLisio was able to convert a team-best three opportunities from three point range.
In total, the Express allowed 25 points off of turnovers and also allowed the Nittany Lions to convert their second-chance opportunities for 13 total points.
The Express return to action tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m., facing off against the Wolverines of Grove City College in a neutral site match-up on the campus of Penn State Behrend. Stay up to date with the latest news directly from the Wells College athletic department by "liking" us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WellsExpress) and subscribing to our Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/WellsExpress).
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