PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The La Roche College men's basketball team (12-9, 8-6) was outlasted 68-67 by Pitt-Bradford (13-8, 9-5) in overtime AMCC action at the Kerr Fitness Center Saturday afternoon.
The visiting Panthers started strong and took an early 9-5 lead, before the Redhawks' defense sparked a 17-4 run by forcing four consecutive turnovers. Andre Flanigan started the surge with a steal and fast break alley-oop to Daron Tabron, followed by another Flanigan steal and coast-to-coast lay up. Jean Freeman took a charge on the ensuing possession, before scoring on a putback at the opposite end. After securing an errant Bradford shot, Torin Smith flushed a deep three on a feed from Nick Herman. Lionel Perkins capitalized on another steal by finding Zaire Redding for a fast break alley-oop, before Smith capped the run with his second triple in as many tries.
The Panthers closed the gap to 27-25 after a 7-0 run at the 1:30 mark of the first half, but a running buzzer beater from Perkins sent La Roche into the break with a 33-28 lead.
The Redhawks forced a turnover and scored on consecutive possessions to push the lead to 37-28 to open the second half. The visiting Panthers slowly chipped away and took their first lead of the half, 44-43 with 9:35 remaining.
La Roche countered with a 14-6 run to lead 57-50 with 3:00 remaining. A pair of Redhawks turnovers and five misfires from the charity stripe allowed Bradford to creep back and tie the game at 60 with mere seconds remaining. A desperation three from the Redhawks missed its mark and sent the teams into overtime.
Bradford scored on their first possession of overtime to take a 62-60 lead. With the shot clock dwindling, Perkins responded with a running floater to tie the game at 62-62. A Panther tip-in put the visitors back on top, before David Jackson split a pair of free throws to bring La Roche within one. An offensive rebound and put back extended Bradford's lead to 66-63 with 1:45 remaining, before Flanigan canned a contested three to knot the game at 66-66. The Panthers connected on a pair of free throws to go up 68-66 with 20 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Flanigan was fouled on a drive with 3.5 seconds left, but split the pair to hand La Roche the 68-67 loss in overtime.
Keith Burgess scored a game-high 24 points and Lucas Pichette added 17 of his own to lead the visiting Panthers. Bradford shot 47% from the field (24-51), but was held to 17% from three (2-12).
Smith poured in four three's to register a career-high 18 points to lead the Redhawks' offensive attack. Jackson added 11 points and seven rebounds, while Perkins finished with 10 points, four assists and three steals. Freeman contributed eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Despite recording assists on 18 of 23 field goals, the Redhawks shot just 39% from the field (23-59), 26% from deep (6-23) and just 56% from the charity stripe (15-27).
With the loss, La Roche drops to sixth place in the AMCC at 8-6. Bradford improves to 9-5 in the AMCC with the win.
The Redhawks return to AMCC action Wednesday, February 12 at Franciscan. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Jeskey.