MEADVILLE, Pa. – Chris Saltzman went 8-for-11 from the field and 10-for-10 from the line for a game-high 27 points to lead Penn State Behrend over regional-rival Allegheny 83-73 in non-conference action on Wednesday night.
Both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor, but the Lions (21-3) only missed two free throws (24-for-26) and drained seven three-pointers to get their third straight win. Nick Dvorsky came off the bench to score 15 points, shooting 60 percent.
Just like Behrend, the Gators (6-18) had four players in double figures. James Ness led the way with 23 points, mimicking Saltzman's 8-for-11 shooting from the field. Donte Briscoe added 11 points and a game-best eight rebounds.
Even though the Lions held a 37-30 edge at halftime, they relied on superior free-throw shooting in the second half to come away with the win.
With 8:59 remaining in the first half, Clark Tritto dropped in the layup for a 22-18 Allegheny lead. Chris Saltzman put away two from the line and Dvorsky nailed a trey to tie the game for the fourth time in the half, making the score 23-all.
Ryan Stanko responded with a jumper for the last Gators lead at 25-23. Saltzman's unconventional three-point play gave Behrend a lead that would not relinquish with 6:29 on the clock.
Saltzman and Dvorsky each hit a basket before Kovacs got his triple to fall for a 33-25 advantage. With a seven-point lead at halftime, the Lions opened the second stanza on a 8-3 run for a double-digit advantage (45-33).
Behrend never let up on Allegheny and capitalized on chances from the charity stripe. With 2:59 to play, the Gators pulled within five points but Saltzman's five straight points and Pat St. Andrews' pair of free throws sealed the victory.
The Lions travel to Mt. Aloysius on Saturday for their final regular-season game before playoffs. Game time is 3 p.m.