ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend men's basketball team notched their biggest win margin of the season (34) with a 77-43 victory over Franciscan Saturday afternoon in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate College (AMCC) action.
The Lions (5-1, 2-0 AMCC) shot 26-of-48 (54.2%) from the floor and 9-of-19 (47.4%) from three. Leading the Lions were junior forwards Justin Gorny (South Park, PA/South Park) and Dan Wanker (Pittsburgh, PA/South Park) with 17 points. Gorny shot 67 percent from the field on 6-of-9 shooting. He also added five rebounds and three steals. Wanker went 4-of-7 from the floor and was 8-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Adding 10 points and nine assists was junior Andy Niland (Fairview, PA/Fairview). He was just one assist shy of recording his first double-double of the season, while also pulling down four rebounds.
A close game early, was split wide open by the Lions in the second half. Behrend outscored Franciscan 43-16 in the second half behind 61.9 percent shooting from the floor, including 60.1 percent from three.
Behrend's sixth ranked defense in the country held the Barons to 27.3 percent shooting in the second half and 32.7 percent for the game. They also forced Franciscan to miss eight of their nine three-point attempts in the second half, leading them to beat their 56.2 points per game allowed average by 13 points (43).
The Lions found themselves in a little bit of trouble early on, going down 11-7 in the opening five minutes of the game. Behrend would not be fazed however. They stayed cool and took the lead 13-11 after Tyler Gates (Titusville, PA/ Titusville) received a pass from Niland under the basket and converted on the layup. Gates added a career-high eight points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field.
After exchanging baskets back and forth for the next eight minutes, Wanker finished a layup to give the Lions a 24-22 lead that they would not surrender the rest of the contest.
A seven-point advantage at the break turned into a 34-point win. Behrend maintained a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half. One made free throw from Wanker, with just under 10 minutes left, jump started a 19-0 run that sealed the game for the Lions.
Mike Fischer (Wexford, PA/North Allegheny) and Kenny Fukon (Cranberry Twp., PA/Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic) each finished the game with eight points. Fischer pulled down three boards and tallied two assists while Fukon grabbed two rebounds.
Behrend is back in action Wednesday at Carnegie Mellon for a 7:30 p.m. start.