Bald Eagle men lose to Pitt-Johnstown

LOCK HAVEN — The Lock Haven University men’s basketball team proved one well known fact to be true. It is not how you start, but how you finish.

After taking the early in their battle with Pitt-Johnstown on Saturday, the Bald Eagles struggled for most of the game before falling 76-66 at the final buzzer.

“Not only do we have to take better shots, we have to make them,” said Lock Haven coach Mike Nestor. “Defensively we are OK for the most part, but when you only shoot 42 percent from the field in this league, you aren’t going to win.”

The Bald Eagles started with a 7-0 run to begin the game, but UPJ battled back to eventually take its first lead of the game at 14-13 with 11:27 left in the first half.

UPJ hung around for the next couple of minutes until the Bald Eagles ran off seven unanswered points for a 6-point lead. UPJ tallied four straight points to cut the LHU lead to two until the teams exchanged points for a 33-31 LHU lead at halftime.

The Mountain Hawks came out of the break with a 15-8 run to take a 46-41 lead six minutes into the second half before showing a 53-47 lead with 12 minutes remaining.

“You are up two and then they hit a couple of contested shots and just like that you are down six,” said Nestor. “Those are back breakers. Our problem is that we haven’t been able to figure out that run where we hit the big shot and then get a big stop. It has been kind of the opposite every time for us.”

The Bald Eagles clawed their way back to only trail by one, 55-54, with 8 minutes left, but a number of missed opportunities by LHU on the offensive end of the floor led to a surge by UPJ as they built their lead to 68-60 before prevailing at the final buzzer.

Hoping for more scoring from a number of players, Marques Jackson stepped up to tally 13 points with a good shooting percentage.

“Marques was good, but everyone else was below 50 percent and that is not a good thing to have,” said Nestor. “I thought he did a good job of attacking the basket, especially against their big guys. We have been working on that, but those percentages, 7 for 16, 2 for 8, 3 for 7 and 11 for 26 are not good. We have to do better than that to win games.”

The challenge of adjusting to the college game can be a big step in an athlete’s life, but for freshman Matt Cerruti, that adjustment has become evident from game to game.

Playing 37 of 40 minutes, Cerruti had possibly his best all-around game of his young career with eight points, five boards, two assists and four steals.

“He has a high IQ and he does a lot for us,” said Nestor. “The one thing that he has been very good at in the past is the one thing he has been struggling with and that is hitting from the perimeter. That is what his bread and butter has been. But his numbers today shows you that if you aren’t doing something, find another way to make a positive part of the game. That is something we have to take for what it is and hope that he will eventually get his shot going.”

PITT-JOHNSTOWN (5-4, 3-2 PSAC)

CLANCY, Dale 10-16 2-4 30; VESCOVI, Isaac 7-16 2-2 17; WISE, Josh 6-11 0-0 12; KING, Jr., Olando 3-4 2-5 8; MASUA, Levi 3-3 0-0 6; MAGESTRO, Drew 1-6 0-0 3; WISZOMIRSKI, Marcin 0-1 0-0 0; SEBASTIANI, Romano 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-57 6-11 76.

LOCK HAVEN (2-6, 1-4 PSAC)

Amir Hinton 11-26 0-1 23; Ra’eese Hunt 7-16 0-0 14; Marques Jackson 6-9 0-1 13; Matt Cerruti 3-7 2-2 8; Jihad Barnes 2-8 0-0 4; Alsmith Saintilius 1-4 0-0 3; Jesse McPherson 0-0 1-2 1; Christian Kelly 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-71 3-6 66.

Halftime: LHU, 35-33.

3-point goals–Pitt-Johnstown 10-25 (CLANCY, 8-13; VESCOVI, 1-4; MAGESTRO, 1-4; WISZOMIRSKI, 0-1; WISE, 0-3), Lock Haven 3-20 (Saintilius 1-3; Jackson 1-3; Hinton 1-7; Barnes 0-2; Kelly 0-1; Cerruti 0-3 Hunt 0-1). Fouled out–None. Rebounds–Pitt-Johnstown 42(MASUA, 10), Lock Haven 31 (Barnes 5; Cerruti 5; Hunt 5). Assists–Pitt-Johnstown 15 (WISE, 4), Lock Haven 10 (Barnes 4; Amir Hinton 4). Total fouls–Pitt-Johnstown 14, Lock Haven 16. Technical fouls-None. A-177

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