ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend men's basketball team claimed the top spot in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) standings Monday night, taking down conference co-leader Hilbert 69-58.
The Lions (13-1, 8-1 AMCC) and the Hawks (13-3, 7-2 AMCC) were tied for the conference lead, each with 7-1 records coming into the contest. The winner would take first in the AMCC, and Behrend did not let that chance slip by. A big second half, outscoring Hilbert by 11, led the Lions to victory.
Senior Zane Hackett (Brookville, PA/Brookville) continues to put on a show. The forward notched his sixth straight, and 11th overall, double-double of the season in his chase to surpass the 1000 career point mark.
Hackett needed 20 points coming into the AMCC Game of the Week to reach the historic mark. He dropped 17 points, brought down 12 rebounds, dished three assists, added three blocks and a steal. He remains three points shy of the 1000 mark and will look to pass the number on Thursday against D'Youville.
Andy Niland (Fairview, PA/Fairview) finished with a game-high 18 points on six made baskets and a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. He also added four assists, right on point with his 4.5 assist per game average.
Freshman Justin Gorny (South Park, PA/South Park) lit it up from beyond the arc. He went 4-for-4 from deep and added a jumper in the first half to tie his career-high with 14 points.
Matt Colpoys (Erie, PA/Cathedral Prep) chipped in with six boards and 11 points on a career-high five made buckets to make the Lions finish with four in double figures for the sixth time this season. He also added a career-high two steals.
The first half was a fight for even the slightest advantage, but neither team would give way. After a 15-all tie, the Lions went a 6-0 run; the Hawks answered with a 6-0 run of their own. Back and forth action ensured for the last four minutes of the half, ultimately ending in a 28-all tie to close the frame.
The second half was the big story for Behrend. They exploded for 41 points and left with an 11-point win. A 13-3 run in the opening five minutes of the half gave the Lions a lot of momentum to allow their defense to take over from there.
The Lions' sixth-ranked scoring defense in the country holds opposing defenses to 60.5 points per game, while the Hawks offense scores 87.8 points per game. Defense won this battle as Behrend held Hilbert to 30 points under their season average.
Behrend looks to extend their winning streak to double digits on Thursday. They are back in action at home to square off against D'Youville. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.