PITTSBURGH, PA – La Roche men's basketball (15-8, 13-3) held on for a 51-47 win against rival Penn State Behrend (16-7, 12-4) to take over sole-possession of first place in the AMCC and clinch a top 4 seed in the conference tournament. The win is their seventh straight overall and their fifth consecutive regular season victory against Penn State Behrend.
The Redhawks ran out to a 7-0 lead but Penn State Behrend answered with a 12-2 run to set the tone of what would become a back and forth game. The lead changed four times in the first half and six times in the game.
David Jackson led La Roche with 7 first half points and Daron Tabron added six points including an emphatic alley-oop which saw him run the entire floor after a block on Penn State Behrend's Nick DeLisio.
The Redhawks were never able to gain a large lead and trailed by four at the 3:55 mark of the second half until an 10-0 run put them up 6 points with 48 seconds left. The Lions converted consecutive layups to cut the deficit to just 2 points, but Jackson made a pair of free throws to end it.
"I'm very proud of our guys for the win," said Coach Tinkey. "They stepped up on a big time stage and played with a lot of poise and energy."
Jackson scored 13 points on 5 of 7 shooting and added 8 rebounds for the Redhawks. Tabron had another strong game off the bench with 13 points and played terrific defense. Joel McIntosh registered 8 points and 3 steals and held Russ Conley, the conference's leading scorer, to just 13 points. Lionel Perkins had 9 points and 3 assists in the win.
La Roche held the Lions to their lowest point output of the season and 21 points under of their season average. The Redhawks outrebounded Penn State Behrend 28-23 and outscored them 15-2 on second chance points. They also shot 79% (15 of 19) from the free throw line.
Coach Tinkey knew it would be a battle all game but credited his defense for the win.
"Every time we play Behrend it seems to bring out the best in both teams. I think our defense was the difference in the game."
The Redhawks will host Pitt-Greensburg on Wednesday in an important conference game. La Roche fell to the Bobcats 79-69 on January 14 but have won seven consecutive games since that loss.