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HAMBURG, NY – The Hilbert College men’s basketball team kept their win-streak alive after the Hawks convincingly defeated Penn State Behrend 63-50 February 13th. The five game win streak propels Hilbert (13-4) into sole possession of 2nd place in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference standings with one game remaining. Freshman Jerame Owens measured up well against the intimidating inside presence of Behrend’s Russ Conley, who is nationally ranked in two shooting categories. They each reached a double-double, but the cast of characters from Hilbert played a larger role in the Hawks home court victory.
Senior Dan McFarland finished with 14 points, going 5 of 7 from the floor and making all four free throw attempts to give him 1,504 career points. Senior Anthony Hodge chipped in 13 points and sophomore Trevor Stark added 11 points (3 of 4 field goals and 5 of 6 from the charity stripe). Senior Isaac Bushey (5) and Mike Jones (2) completed the Hilbert scoring efforts.
Hilbert out rebounded Behrend (35-25) and finished with 15 steals while forcing an uncharacteristic 22 turnovers by the Lions. The Hawks were shutout from long distance missing all 11 long-balls, but made 21 of 24 foul shots to earn the well-deserved victory.
After an early opening tie score, Behrend took the reins and went with it, building their largest lead in the first half, 11-4 (15:29) with Conley netted 8 points during that stretch. Hilbert regained their composure and Bushey and McFarland went to work to knot the game 3 minutes later. Hilbert went on a mini-run but the Lions responded and took a 24-23 lead to the locker room.
Conley scored 14 of Behrend’s 24 points by the break while Owens and McFarland shared scoring honors with 8 apiece. Behrend shot 52.6% from the field but were only 1 of 5 from long distance. Hilbert was shutout with a 3-ball and made 9 of 27 field goal attempts (33.3%) but all five free throws.
Casey Courneen hit back-to-back three pointers to give Penn State their largest lead in the second half at 17:43 (30-25). Hilbert slowly cut the difference and finally took over the lead at 13:37 off an Anthony Hodge layup. From that point forward, turnovers (5) and missed shots began to take their toll on the visitors and Hilbert’s execution began to click. With 3:42 remaining and Hilbert up by 8 points, Stark took over. His steal led to a fast break jumper in the paint before he went 5 of 6 on this three trips to the charity stripe. Owens made two free throws to stretch Hilbert’s lead to 17 points with just over one minute remaining. Behrend’s Tyler Maloney sank four straight foul shots to cut the difference by the final horn.
Hilbert will honor their three senior athletes – Isaac Bushey, Anthony Hodge and Dan McFarland – prior to their final regular season game this weekend when they host the current #1 ranked team La Roche College (14-3). With a Hilbert win, the Hawks will claim their first AMCC regular season championship and the #1 seed in the AMCC tournament. Should Hilbert suffer a defeat, they could drop as low as the 4th seed in the post-season tourney and host a first round game.
Play-offs begin Tuesday, February 19th with #4 hosting #5 and the #3 team hosting the #6 seeded team. The #1 seeded team hosts the championship weekend with semi-final games scheduled to be played Friday night and championship game on Saturday February 23.
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