HAMBURG, N.Y. – The No. 24 Penn State Behrend men's basketball team lost their second game in their last three contests after falling to Hilbert in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Game of the Week Wednesday evening.
The Lions (20-3, 14-3 AMCC) and the Hawks (20-4, 14-3) were in a battle to secure the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference playoffs. A Behrend win would have secured them the regular season title, but with the Hilbert win, they control whether or not they host. A win in their final game of the season, the Hawks will host the final two rounds of the AMCC playoffs.
Hilbert overcame a six-point halftime deficit and scored 10 more points than the Behrend in the second half to take the victory. The Hawks scored the last five points of the game to take their final lead and secure the crucial four-point win.
For the Lions, Zane Hackett (Brookville, PA/Brookville) finished with his 15th double-double of the season on a game-high 21 points while brings down 12 rebounds. Andy Niland (Fairview, PA/Fairview) added 17 points and nine assists.
For the Hawks, Kirkland Ottey scored 17 points and added seven rebounds, while Jerame Owens had eight points and secured 15 boards.
Behrend started to pull away early, opening up a quick 6-0 advantage on a NBA-range three from Niland and another triple from Malquan Pullium (Erie, Pa/Strong Vincent). They were able to increase their lead to 12 at 26-14, but that was as far as it would go.
Hilbert began to claw back and cut that 12-point lead in half at the halftime break. Hackett made a jump shot to push the lead one more to seven before the Hawks would make their push at the comeback. It took five minutes for the Hilbert to go on a 17-2 run to claim their first lead of the game.
Fighting their way back, the Lions tied the grudge match at 58-all before taking the lead at 59-58 courtesy of a converted Hackett and-one. From there, the Lion scoring stopped and the Hawks came out on top with the next five points.
Hilbert made their big second half surge, shooting 60.9 percent compared to Behrend's 44.8 percent from the floor. The Hawks were also 100 percent (6-for-6) and the Lions were 25.0 (2-for-8) percent from beyond the arc.
Behrend looks to keep their chances at the No. 1 seed alive Saturday against Pitt-Greensburg. The game will be played at Mount Aloysius with a 6 p.m. start time.