PITTSBURGH, PA – The La Roche men's basketball team came up just short in a thriller at the Fitness Center on Sunday evening. The Redhawks waited out a long weather delay and battled for a full 60 minutes, but Penn State Behrend narrowly escaped in the AMCC Championship Game 67-65.
La Roche now has to wait to see if they earn an NCAA Tournament at-large bid when selections are announced tomorrow at 12:30pm.
Tyler Frederick hit a hook shot for the game's opening basket, but the Redhawks were held without a field goal for the next six minutes. RayQuan Phifer broke the streak with a jumper to beat the shot clock.
The La Roche defense forced Behrend into tough shots and a Phifer drive tied it at 8-8 with 12:28 left in the first half. Phifer continued to assert himself, and he stalled a 6-0 Behrend run with a three-pointer.
Austin Hannes buried a three-pointer with 7:08 left in the half to cut the deficit to 17-15. Behrend made their possessions count, and built up a seven point lead, forcing Coach Carmichael to call a timeout with 4:32 minutes in the first.
The Redhawks responded with defensive stops and Darrell Barron stroked a wide open three to get back within four. Zach Gould drew a charge with 55 seconds left, but a Behrend three-pointer allowed them to enter halftime ahead 29-22.
Phifer and Frederick combined for 16 of the Redhawks' 22 first half points. Behrend shot 55% in the first half to La Roche's 31%.
La Roche came out of the timeout and immediately got to work. Frederick found Zach Gould for an and-1. Gould followed with two makes and then drew a charge to deny a Behrend basket. Phifer swatted away a Lion shot and Frederick made it count on the other end.
Behrend answered and used a three to extend their lead to 45-33 with 12:18 left. They continued to shoot the long ball and extended their to fourteen with an and-1 at the 9:38 mark.
Coach Carmichael called a timeout and Barron brought the Redhawks alive with a block and left handed layup on the other end. La Roche racked off six straight points and Behrend burned a timeout.
La Roche clamped down on defense and forced another Behrend turnover. Hannes followed with a contested three, and Behrend grabbed an offensive board to get within six.
Phifer then denied a Behrend layup and drained a three on the opposite end. Barron cut it to one with a floater and following a Lion make, Phifer tied it with a deep three at 59-59 with just under four left.
Phifer gave the Redhawks their first lead since the first minute with a turn around jumper and then Barron blocked the ensuing possession.
Frederick hit a pair of free throws to go up five.
Behrend got within two with free throws and an and-1 allowed the Lions to take the lead with seconds left. Behrend went up two with a free throw, and the Redhawks last second shot was off the mark.