Bearcats win physical contest over Penn State-Altoona

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The Bearcats and Penn State-Altoona Lions battled in a physical contest at the Carey Center, with Saint Vincent winning by a score of 87-80.

The Lions scored the game's first three points, and the Bearcats (2-0) didn't get on the board until nearly three minutes into play, when David Stephen hit a jumper.
 
Dunks by Shemar Bennett and Tom Kromka tied the game at 6-6 with just under 16 minutes left in the half, and a steal and bucket by Stephen gave the Bearcats their first lead, 10-8. 

The next six points were scored by Altoona, but SVC battled back, thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Kyle Pope, tying the game at 18-18.
 
The Lions once again took a short lead, 23-20 after a free throw near the 9-minute mark, but the Bearcats came back in a hurry.  Mike Simmons hit a three from the corner, and David Stephen followed with a steal seconds later, and drew a foul while making the shot.  The conventional 3-point play gave SVC a 25-23 lead.
 
Altoona reclaimed the lead, going on a 7-2 run, and eventually built an 8-point lead, 37-29, with less than three minutes remaining.
 
However, the Bearcats came back once again, with Kromka starting the rally with a layup.  Four points from Shemar Bennett followed, and SVC went into the half down by just one, 40-39.
 
The second half started with physical play, as Bennett scored and drew a foul, giving SVC a 43-42 lead, but he was assessed with a technical foul.   The resulting free throws put the Lions back in front, but SVC then took control.  Kromka scored in the paint, drawing a foul. He missed the free throw but Stephen grabbed the rebound and hit a three, giving SVC a 50-46 lead with 15:47 on the clock.
 
Andrew Reed hit a three just over a minute later, putting SVC in front 56-49, and Josh Duda followed with a three of his own, giving SVC a 10-point advantage.  After a score by Altoona, SVC added 7 straight points, four by Bennett and a three by Duda, extending the lead to 15.  

The Lions cut the gap back to 10, but Reed hit another three near the midway point of the half.  Once again, the visitors refused to go away, reducing the margin to seven, 73-68, after five straight points from Jack Kusters, on a three and a driving layup, with 7:16 remaining.
 
The lead grew to eight after a runner by Stephen at the 5:10 mark, but Altoona answered just nine seconds later, making the score 76-70.  At the 4:38 mark, SVC lost Kromka to his fifth foul of the night, joining Bennett, who fouled out earlier in the second half.
 
The game remained physical in the closing minutes, with much of the time spent at the foul line, but SVC held on for the 7-point win.  
 
Overall, the teams combined for 49 fouls on the night.

Bennett and Duda led the Bearcats with 15 points each, while Stephen added 14 and Ryan Dutton scored 13.  Kromka grabbed 10 rebounds, while Mike Simmons, Dutton, and Cletus Helton each had 8.  Stephen also had 6 assists and four steals.

The Lions (0-1) were led by freshman Jack Kusters, with a game-high 27.

The Bearcats return to action on Friday, November 16, as they being action in the 2-day Marietta College Tournament in Marietta, Ohio.