MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Wells College men's basketball teams attempt at four straight NEAC Championship game appearances was squandered on Saturday afternoon as the Penn. St. Harrisburg Nittany Lions battled back from a nine point first half deficit to top the Express 72-64 in the semifinal round of the North Eastern Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament on the campus of Morrisville State College. Harrisburg moves on to Sunday's championship game against host Morrisville State at 2 p.m. while the Express end their season at 14-12 (11-4 NEAC).
Steve Jones paced Harrisburg with a team high 20 points, Kenton Alston added 14 points, eight rebounds, and six assists and Amani Glenn chipped in with 11 points to round out the top scorers for the Nittany Lions.
Trailing 36-27 at the half, the Nittany Lions exploded for a 9-2 run to open the second half. The Express extended their lead back to six (44-38) on an EJ Taylor (Tampa Bay, Fla.) three and free thows by Sawyers and Harrison. Back-to-back buckets by William Doyle and a jump shot by Jones tied the game (44-44) for the Nittany Lions for the first time at 10:57 of the half. The Express extended their lead back to four (50-46) on free-throws by Harrison and a jumper by Foltz.
The Nittany Lions responded with a 10-1 run over the next five minutes giving Harrisburg their first lead of the game 56-51 with 5:42 to play. The Nittany Lions led by six with less than 90-seconds to play, but a three-point play the hard way by Harrison pulled the Express to within three with 1:17 to play. The excitement would be short lived as the Nittany Lions controlled the ball and hit 7-10 free-throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
The Express controlled the majority of the first half jumping out to a commanding 21-8 lead mid-way through, extending their lead to as many as 14 points, until the Nittany Lions closed the half outscoring the Express 16-11 to cut the lead to nine (36-27).
The Express held a 46-34 advantage on the glass and finished 45.5 percent shooting from the floor but shot just 17 percent from long range (3-17) after shooting near 35 percent from the arc during the season.