HAMBURG, NY - The Penn State Behrend men's basketball team took down Hilbert in their last road game of the season Wednesday night, defeating the Hawks 68-60.
Andy Niland (Fairview, PA/Fairview) scored 13 second half points and Connor McLaughlin (Ashtabula OH/Edgewood) added 12 to help lift the Lions (18-6, 13-4 AMCC) over Hilbert for the second time this season.
Niland and McLaughlin teamed up to score 18 of the final 24 points, helping Behrend pull away from the Hawks down the stretch in a tight back and forth game.
Hilbert jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead and kept the advantage over the Lions for the majority of the first half. Behrend put together an 8-0 run to finally take their first lead of the game with a three-pointer from Dan Wanker (Pittsburgh, PA/South Park) with 5:36 left in the first half. The remainder of the half featured four more lead changes and two ties with the Lions taking the slight 31-30 advantage into the break.
Behrend and Hilbert traded the lead eight times and shared three ties in the final 20 minutes of the game. Jalen Smith gave the Hawks their largest second-half lead, 51-44, with a layup at the 10:50 mark, but the Lions, yet again, found a way to take the lead back.
With 2:37 left, Smith's technical foul sent Niland to the line. He drained both of his free-throws to break the final tie of the game, putting Behrend up 60-58. McLaughlin then drained a jumper just three seconds later to quickly put the Lions up by four.
For the remainder of the game, Behrend outscored Hilbert 6-2 to take the eight-point victory.
Niland finished the game with 17 points after going 7-for-13 from the field and perfect from three-point range (1-for-1) and the free-throw line (2-for-2).
McLaughlin shot 63.6 percent and added 16 points to the effort. He also pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Wanker finished with 12 points after going 4-for-7 from the floor and Justin Gorny (South Park, South Park) added 10 points and five rebounds.
The Lions will finish the regular season on Saturday when they take on Penn State Altoona at 3 p.m. Saturday's game will be the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Game of the Week as well as senior day for the Lions.