ALTOONA, PA -- La Roche battled back from a seventeen point deficit but fell in the closing seconds at Penn State Altoona. The Redhawks' 79-75 loss drops them to 10-13 overall, 8-8 in conference and a fifth place tie in the AMCC.
La Roche can finish anywhere between third and eighth in the AMCC Conference. They can clinch a playoff spot on Wednesday with the combination of a win against Pitt-Greensburg and a Penn State Altoona loss at Pitt-Bradford.
The Redhawks struggled with their shot in the game's opening minutes. Penn State Altoona held an 18-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended it to seventeen with nine minutes left before halftime.
La Roche found their shooting stroke and closed the gap to four with fifty-two seconds left in the half. The Redhawks were extremely efficient over the course of the run and all nine field goals came within just feet of the basket. La Roche also stepped up their defense, holding Penn State Altoona to just two field goals.
The Lions recovered and closed the half with four straight points and a 35-27 lead. La Roche shot just 28% (11 for 39 FG) in the first half, but their hustle on the boards kept them in it. The Redhawks pulled down an impressive 31 rebounds, including 18 on the offensive end. Penn State Altoona totaled 18 first half rebounds.
La Roche's defense continued to make things difficult for Penn State Altoona in the third quarter. They limited the Lions to just five field goals over the first six minutes as they chipped into the lead.
The Redhawks used a 19-8 run for a 49-47 lead with 3:21 left to play in the third. La Roche relied on layups and short range jumpers. Nia Thomas capped the run with a three-point play.
Penn State Altoona answered with a 9-0 run and 62-54 lead at the third intermission.
La Roche quickly turned things around and a Darrian Johnson three-pointer tied it at 64-64 with 8:11 left. Both teams alternated five point swings with Penn State Altoona leading 72-67 and the Redhawks tying it at 72-72.
Penn State Altoona drained a three with 1:13 remaining and a 77-74 lead. La Roche held the Lions without a field goal over the final 1:13, but they could not find the equalizer.
The Redhawks had a 55-40 advantage on the boards. Jenna Cole registered her fourth straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Stephanie Thomas was a rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Jazmyne Boyd had 11 points and 7 rebounds while Darrian Johnson and Dalezsa Regan scored 9 points.
The Redhawks can finish anywhere between third and eighth in the AMCC Conference. They can clinch a playoff spot on Wednesday with the combination of a win against Pitt-Greensburg and a Penn State Altoona loss at Pitt-Bradford.