ERIE, Pa. - The Penn State Behrend men's basketball team closed out the regular season Saturday afternoon, defeating Penn State Altoona 90-78.
With the win, the Lions (19-6, 14-4 AMCC) lock up the #2 seed and secure a first-round bye in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) playoffs.
Celebrating senior day, Kevin Scuilli (McKees Rocks, PA/Montour) had his first career start in a Behrend uniform. The senior guard came out firing, putting the Lions on the board first with a three from the corner. He would go on to pick up two more three-pointers, finishing the day with nine points on perfect 3-for-3 shooting.
For much of the first half Altoona kept the game close. They trailed Behrend by sigle-digits, but were never able to take the lead. Behrend would go on to take a nine point lead into the break.
Senior Malquan Pullium (Erie, PA/Strong Vincent) scored 11 first-half points and Scuilli's three triples helped expand on the Lions lead. Pullium also pulled down seven boards
Behrend finished the half with 42.4 percent shooting and eight three-pointers.
For the first five minutes of the second half, the Lions maintained their nine point lead after both teams traded buckets four times. Altoona then mounted an 11-2 run to trim the Behrend lead to two. Andy Niland (Fairview, PA/Fairview) and Justin Gorny (South Park, PA/South Park) answered by each hitting a three, giving the Lions a 60-54 lead.
Altoona answered a minute later with a three of their own, trimming the Behrend lead to five. Dan Wanker (Pittsburgh, PA/South Park) and Connor McLaughlin (Ashtabula, OH/Edgewood) then went back-to-back, making a layup and nailing a three, respectively, to put Behrend ahead by 10.
Altoona's Javon Wilson responed with a tip in, but Pullium's layup shortly after put the Lions ahead by 10 once again. Wilson finished with a game-high 28 points.
Behrend went on to maintain a double-digit lead for the remainer of the game.
Off the bench, McLaughlin finished the game with a team-high 20 points, 15 of which came in the second half. The junior guard went 7-for-12 from the floor and finished with three triples, all coming in the second half.
Pullium pulled down nine boards and finished with 17 points. The senior made eight field goals on 17 attempts and dished out six assits.
Forwards Gorny and Wanker finished with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Gorny shot 60 percent and added six rebounds while Wanker went 5-for-7 from the floor and pulled down seven boards.
The Lions shot 54.7 percent as a team after shooting an impressive 67.7 percent in the second half. They added 13 triples and outrebounded Altoona 36-25.
Behrend will now wait to see who they play on Saturday in the second round of the tournament. First seed Medaille will host the semi's and finals.