No. 1 La Roche University and No. 3 Penn State Behrend each earned semifinal round victories on Friday afternoon to advance to Saturday's AMCC Men's Basketball Championship Game. The game will take place on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at La Roche University's Kerr Fitness Center
La Roche 87, Penn State Altoona 76
No. 1 La Roche University defeated No. 4 Penn State Altoona 87-76 in semifinal action to advance to the championship game Saturday afternoon. Penn State Altoona came out hot and didn't back down from the tournament's number one seed. The Redhawks scored first, but both teams exchanged baskets for the first several minutes. The tight lead went back and forth several times, with Altoona holding the biggest lead of the half when they went up by 7 with 5:41 to play on a Jack Kusters layup. La Roche went on an 10-2 run in the final three minutes of the half, capped by a fast break dunk by Tyler Frederick, to give the Redhawks a 43-40 lead at the break. At the end of the first half, Altoona's Jack Kusters led all scorers with 17 points, while La Rocher's Austin Hannes led the Redhawks with 10.
La Roche opened the second frame with back-to-back baskets and continued to build their lead from there, as they extended their lead to 10 in the first four minutes of the half. Darius Lawrence scored five of the Redhawks first nine points of the half. The Lions continued to claw their way back, as they closed the gap to two points on a Robbie Hicks 3-pointer with 10:48 to play. The game stayed tight over the next seven minutes, but the Lions could not get any closer than two points. La Roche started to pull away again, as a Darrell Barron layup with 3:23 to play in the game gave the Redhawks a comfortable 10 point lead that would keep them on top for good.
Lawrence led the Redhawks with 21 points, while Tyler Frederick added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Austin Hannes and Barron also scored in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Kusters led all scorers with 29 points on 11-for-20 shooting from the field. Andruw Harman added 17 points and six rebounds for the Lions.
Penn State Behrend 73, Pitt-Greensburg 68
No. 3 Penn State Behrend took control of the game out of the gates as the they took a quick 14-4 lead in the first seven minutes of the game, with sophomore guard Devin Pope accounting for seven of his team's 14 points. The Lions continued to connect from long range, as four different players knocked down 3's and a Kenny Fukon layup at the 3:55 mark of the first half put the Lions up by 17, 30-13. A back-to-back layup and three pointer by the Bobcats brought Pitt-Greensburg within 12, but they wouldn't get any closer in the half as the Lions tooks a 36-20 lead into the locker rooms. Pope led all scorers at the break with 10 points.
The second half was much different than the first, as the Bobcats came storming back around the 15-minute mark to close the gap. Behrend was ahead by 15 (44-29) with 15:10 to play when Pitt-Greensburg went on a 10-0 run, sparked by five points from Jojo France, to bring the score to 44-39. The game stayed tight throughout the remainder of the half, with the Bobcats getting as close as one point at the 6:31 mark when a Torian Jenkins layup made it 51-50. However, that's as close as they would get, as two free throws by Behrend's Mitchell King at the 1:09 mark put Behrend up by 10 as the Lions held on for the victory.
Pope led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field, and 3-of-6 from long range. Fukon added 17 points while Derrick Clark chipped in with 14 points.
France was the high scorer for the Bobcats with 19 points.