Lycoming Tops Alvernia 68-66
Reading, Pa. (Dec. 3, 2011) - Alvernia University (2-3, 1-1) suffered through a nearly five-minute scorless drought and gave up a seven-point lead late in a 68-66 loss to Lycoming College (6-0, 2-0) Saturday afternoon at the Physical Education Center.
The Crusaders led 57-50 with nine minutes left on the second 3 of the season from senior Brian Nerney (Middletown, N.J./Red Bank Catholic). They went cold from the floor missing each of the next five shots and turning the ball over three times as Lycoming ran off six straight to cut the gap to one.
Sophomore Brian Parker (Chichester, Pa./Chichester) had a brilliant tip-in to push the lead back to three, but Lycoming went for eight straight capped by 3s from senior Mike Bradley and freshman Patrick Dougher.
"3-for-5 from 3," said Alvernia head coach Mike Miller of the line on Bradley after the game. "[That's his] number one stat."
Bradley entered the game 2-for-7 from the arc through the first five games of the season.
"He just made big shots," continued Miller. "I thought in the first half we didn't play him smart. He's a senior, he's a veteran. He wanted the ball down the stretch."
Up three in the final minute the ball went back to Bradley on the wing and he lined up what would have been a back-breaker, but it caromed off and after a few bounces Lycoming junior Jerald Williams snagged the ball and a fresh clock.
Sophomore Kevin Anthony--who finished with five points, 13 under his season average--turned the ball over with plenty of time on the clock giving the Crusaders new hope, but they nearly drained all their allotment before coming up with a layup from Josh Vargas (Allentown, Pa./Faith Christian) with seven seconds to go.
The Crusaders fouled Anthony Martin who managed just the second of two free throws for a 67-65 lead with four seconds to play. Nerney took the inbounds and hit Vargas on a fly pattern. He and Bradley collided in the paint and the shot nearly went, but the foul did send Vargas to the line with a chance to tie.
Lycoming burned back-to-back timeouts giving Vargas plenty of time to think about the shot and the junior was short on the first attempt. Trying to miss the second on purpose with 1.3 seconds to play, Vargas accidentally converted on the bank and Martin hit 1-of-2 again after the foul for the final margin.
"Defensively, again we did what I was hoping we would," said Miller, "but offensively we don't really have a go-to player which means we don't have a go-to play right now. For us to hold them to 68 and out-rebound them 40-30 we should win that game. Our offense just wasn't crisp."
Nerney and Parker led the way for the Crusaders with 14 and 13 points respectively. Both went 5-for-7 from the floor and both had a team-best eight rebounds. Vargas and Stefan Thompson (Philadelphia, Pa./G.A.M.P.) both finished with 11 points. Bradley led all scorers with a season-high 19 and Dougher scored 17 fueled by a 4-for-6 effort from the arc.
Alvernia held a five point lead early in the first half and a seven point edge, 19-12 with 10:44 on the clock. Lycoming erased that with a 22-5 run taking a 34-24 lead six minutes later, but Alvernia took the lead back closing the half on a 13-2 run capped by a 3 on the final possession from Chris Davis (Norristown, Pa./Norristown).
Alvernia gets five days to prepare for Penn State-Berks which pays a visit to the PEC next Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. start.
Lycoming 68, Alvernia 66