Second-half gives PSU Berks a win over PCT

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Penn College’s Ben Sosa tries to score against Penn State Berks during a game on Wednesday at Bardo Gymnasium. Sosa is a Loyalsock grad.

First half defensive intensity became second half fatigue. First half offensive efficiency turned into second half ineptitude. After a strong and inspired first half in which it held a six-point lead at the break, all that vanished in the early goings of the second half as Penn State Berks used a 31-12 run to take an 11-point lead late in the second half and it held on for a 75-67 win over Penn College Wednesday night at Bardo Gym.

After playing some of its best basketball in the first half as it shot 45 percent from the field and held Berks to 33 percent from the field, Penn College (0-8 overall, 0-3 NEAC) again struggled to put a full game together. Berks pounded the ball in the paint in the second half and was the more physical team as it fouled out both starting Penn College bigs in Ben Sosa (nine points, five rebounds, three assists) and Ryan Lockman (12 points, eight rebounds).

“I attribute that to a new coach and new system, we lost our composure a little bit. Our bigs were in foul trouble, Ben was in foul trouble, Lockman was in foul trouble and we had to go to our bench,” first-year Penn College coach Geoff Hensley said. “We kind of lost our focus a little bit and that’s one of our themes this year. We need to keep our focus for a full 40 minutes. We’ll play great in spurts or great in halves but until we can put it together for a full 40 minute game, the results are going to continue.”

With the foul trouble and its lack of size, the Wildcats had trouble controlling the inside duo of Latrell Carroll (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Matt Seip (23 points, 14 rebounds). The two combined for 30 second-half points, led by Carroll’s 17 points after halftime. Berks also held a 47-35 rebound and 16-6 second chance points advantage.

“I gotta tip our hat to their guys. Their guys are bigger, stronger and more physical so it’s a tough matchup for our bigs,” Hensley said. “We battled hard, we just need to be a little more tougher and not give up so many offensive rebounds or give them the ball back so much where they have so many second chance putbacks. If we can take away half of those, then it’s a different ball game.”

After Berks took its biggest lead of the game at 11 with just over eight minutes remaining, Hensley decided to switch up the defense to a 2-3 zone. It worked, at least for a little bit. Penn College forced errant shots at the end of the shot clock on back-to-back possessions and Lockman had a hand in six straight points, including two layups and an assist to get the Wildcats within 54-49 with just under six minutes remaining. Berks, though, countered with a quick 6-0 run as Penn College struggled to find any offense as it shot 37 percent from the field and only hit 4 of 29 3-pointers.

“We got some good looks, we just couldn’t knock them down,” Hensley said. “It wasn’t our night from 3 and when we’re giving up points inside and not getting them on the inside, it’s tough to win games.”

PSU Berks 75, PCT 67

PSU Berks (1-9, 1-2 NEAC)

Matt Seip 10-25 3-4 23; Latrell Carroll 8-12 3-7 19; E’drise Hightower 2-5 11-14 15; Monty Farmer 2-10 4-6 8; Brandon Wise 2-7 0-0 5; Steve Luchansky 1-2 0-0 3; Alex Odle 1-5 0-2 2; Hassan Darby 0-0 0-0 0; Kenny Riggs 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-66 21-33 75.

Penn College (0-8, 0-3 NEAC)

Jeff Nixon 6-8 2-2 16; Ryan Lockman 6-9 0-2 12; Imari Walker 4-9 0-0 9; Ben Sosa 4-10 1-2 9; Spencer Bartron 1-8 2-2 4; BRandon Fedoriw 2-7 0-0 4; Kris Giles 1-4 2-2 4; Anthony Dietrick 2-4 0-0 4; Carson Garvis 1-3 0-0 3; Cameron Gloster 0-2 2-2 2; Matthew Salvent 0-1 0-0 0; Obens Luxama 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-66 9-12 67.

Halftime: Penn College, 33-27. 3-point goals: PSU Berks 2-14 (Luchansky 1-2, Wise 1-4, Hightower 0-1, Seip 0-3), Penn College 4-29 (Nixon 2-4, Walker 1-4, Garvis 1-3, Gloster 0-1, Giles 0-2, Sosa 0-3, Fedoriw 0-5, Bartron 0-6). Fouled out: PSU Berks-none; Penn College-none. Rebounds: PSU Berks 47 (Seip 14, Carroll 12), Penn College 35 (Lockman 8). Assists: PSU Berks 9 (Farmer 3), Penn College 9 (Sosa 3). Total fouls: PSU Berks 16, Penn College 27. Technical fouls: PSU Berks-Odle; Penn College-Gloster.