Top seeded Medaille College will meet #3 La Roche College at 1pm Sunday in the finals of the AMCC men's basketball tournament. The winner will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Semifinal (La Roche vs Penn State Behrend): La Roche coasted to a berth in the finals, with a 75-50 upset win over #2 Penn St. Behrend. Led by sophomore guard Ray Quan Phifer ( 20 points, 4 rebounds) and junior forward Arnes Bajgora (14 points, 6 rebounds), the Redhawks avenged a pair of regular season losses to the Lions.
Behrend had strong contributions from sophomore guard Andy Niland (10 points, 2 assists) and sophomore guard Mike Fischer (10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals).
The Redhawks trailed 6-2 early but got hot with a 13-0 run. Behrend cut the deficit to 31-29 with 2:50 left in the house before La Roche scored 8 of the next 10 points to close the half.
Phifer led the Redhawks with 12 first half points and La Roche shot 66% (19 of 29).
La Roche got a quick start in the second half jumping out to a 56-36 lead on a Trell Thomas three-pointer. Behrend never got within 20 the rest of the way as the Redhawks cruised in the second half. La Roche converted 60% of their shots (15 in 25) in the second half while the Lions went cold, shooting just 21% (5 of 24) and going 0 for 13 from three-point range.
La Roche shot the ball extremely well on the day hitting 34 of 54 shots (63%). They held Behrend to just 16 of 50 shooting and 4 of 27 makes from beyond the arc.
Semifinal (Medaille vs Penn State Altoona): Jumping out 46-28 at the half, the host Mavericks cruised to a 91-77 victory over #4 Penn St. Altoona. The Lions actually outscored the Mavs, 49-45, in the second stanza but could not make a significant enough dent in Medaille's lead. The Mavericks were led by a balanced scoring attack, as four players put up double digit points, most notably junior forward Mike Hollenbeck (26 points, 12 rebounds) and junior guard Justice Fagan (22 points and 6 assists).
The Lions got another standout effort from senior guard/forward Javon Wilson, who led all scorers with 31 points. Junior guard/forward Ishimeal Nance also contributed 22 points and 6 boards.
Medaille is striving for their fifth AMCC crown. Their last title came in 2015. La Roche is the winner of two championships, most recently in 2011.