Hazleton, Pa. – It was another day for the history books as the Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball Team (8-3, 3-0) picked up a 76-70 win over Penn State Hazleton (2-5, 1-3) on Saturday. Not only was it the third straight conference win to start the season for the Men’s Basketball Team, but Junior Jordon Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) reached the 1,000-point mark for his PSUGA career and then some in the win.
Payne entered the contest needing just 15 points to reach the 1,000-point mark, but doubled that putting up 30 points in the contest to lead the team. It is the fourth time this season that Payne has scored over 30 points in a contest as his offense continues to shine through in his Junior season. He leads the team in points per game (24.1) and 3-point shooting percentage (50.8%) this season and is a big reason why they are having the success they have seen early on.
It was another close contest for PSUGA as they had to battle all the way to the bitter end to pick up the victory. For the second straight game, PSUGA found themselves down at halftime as Hazleton found their offensive game early going into the locker room with a 39-34 advantage. Payne put up 11 first half points and contributed most of the offense for PSUGA in the half.
However, just as they did against Penn State Schuylkill on Friday, PSUGA was able to find their groove offensively in the second half and have enough in the tank to secure the victory. It was back and forth throughout the early parts of the second half as the two teams battled it out. Then, with 13:42 to go in the game PSUGA went on a 7-0 run to increase the lead to 58-51.
Hazleton battled right back, however, answering to make it 58-56 and it was back to close competition. It would get interesting towards the end as Hazleton tied the game at 68 with 1:29 remaining in the game. PSUGA would put them away, however, by scoring eight of the last ten points of the ball game finishing it off with two free throws by Jordon Payne to seal the deal.
Payne’s historic day lead PSUGA offensively as he has done in all but one game this season. Kenny Rouse (Duquesne, Pa./West Mifflin) had his best day as a starter for PSUGA to this point of the season with 13 points and Jeremy McMunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills) shined off the bench putting up 10 points in the contest. Since making the move from the starting lineup to the bench, McMunn has thrived being in double digits in both of those contests.
Curtis Newby (Sharon, Pa./Sharon HS) continued his dominance in the rebounding game collecting 10 on the day, but falling short of another double-double scoring just six points. Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) once again led the team in assists with another six-point performance.
Jordon Payne’s milestone is the third time this season we have seen a player reach the 1,000-point mark in their collegiate career. Khari Hicks reached his 1,000-point mark on November 8th against Point Park and Curtis Newby got his against Penn State Beaver on November 28th.
PSUGA will continue their conference play in the final game of this stretch of eight straight road games on December 8th when they play as part of a Men’s and Women’s Basketball doubleheader on the road against Penn State DuBois at 8 p.m.