ERIE, Pa. – The Penn Behrend men's basketball team had their five-game winning streak snapped after falling 61-56 to La Roche in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Game of the Week Wednesday evening.
The Lions (18-4, 13-2 AMCC) and the Redhawks (17-5, 14-1 AMCC) were in a battle for the sole position in conference rankings. A Behrend win would have given them an edge for the regular season title; but with this La Roche win, it has put them in the driver seat for the upcoming AMCC playoffs.
A big first half ultimately helped La Roche secure their 12th consecutive win. The Redhawks shot 42.3 percent, including 4-of-8 from three-point range, to jump out to a 12-point lead going into the first half. Trell Thomas led the Redhawks with 10 points in the first and finished with 14.
Both of Behrend's losses to La Roche this season have come at the hands of being out-shot and scoring fewer than 60 points. Even as great of a three-point shooting team the Lions are, having three players in the Top 10 spots in the AMCC in three-point shooting percentage, they were only 5-of-21 from behind the arc tonight.
For the Lions, Mike Fischer (Wexford, PA/North Allegheny) led in scoring with a game-high 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Dan Wanker (Pittsburgh, PA/South Park) added 13 points and eight rebounds on the night. Connor McLaughlin (Ashtabula, OH/Edgewood) provided some life off the bench with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor.
The Lions seemed to catch fire in the early minutes of the second half that helped cut the lead. A Wanker jump shot at the 15:21 mark brought Behrend within six points of La Roche, making the score 39-33.
Just as the Lions became within striking range, the Redhawks put together a 15-4 run that shut down any hopes of a comeback. La Roche built its lead up to 17 points midway through the second half.
Behrend continued to fight throughout the contest, outscoring the Redhawks 35-28 in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit.
The Lions finished with a season-low 23.8 three-point shooting percentage on the night.
Behrend looks to bounce back on the winning track this Saturday against Pitt-Bradford. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.