Lemont Furnace, Pa. – The road to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship kicked off today with the 2018 USCAA Skills Competition. The Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball Team had two participants in the event who performed very well on the national stage.
Jordon Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) participated in the men’s three-point shooting contest, which was the second event of the day. Competitors had three racks of five basketballs set up around the three-point line and had to go to each rack one by one and make as many shots as they could in 40 seconds. Regular basketballs were worth one point and the money ball was worth two points.
Payne hit five of his three-pointers, including one money ball, for a grand total of six points on the day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to advance him to the second round of competition. Payne was the best three-point shooter in the Penn State University Athletic Conference this season shooting 44%. He also was able to break the single game record for three-pointers in a game at PSUGA with 13 against Southern State CC earlier this season.
Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) would round out the day taking on the men’s basketball slam dunk competition. Each competitor had 25 seconds to nail their best dunk for the judges. Players from both Division I and Division II competed in the event which was three rounds leading up to the championship.
After missing on a windmill and an over-the-head dunk, Hicks came back with a tapper off the glass and received a score of 37 from the judges. In the second round, he missed on a ball off the glass and nailed his second attempt for a score of 36 points. Hicks knew he had a height disadvantage going in but wanted to give it his best shot.
“I know I’m little so I had to bring some excitement,” said Hicks. “I just want to make sure that the other teams know that we are here.”
PSUGA gets a crucial day off on Wednesday before competing in their first game of the tournament on Thursday against number three seeded Villa Maria. PSUGA won their first ever USCAA Tournament game last season when they defeated Southern Maine CC 81-51. They went on to fall to Berkley College in the USCAA Semifinals 74-60.
Tip-off for Thursday’s game is scheduled for noon in the main arena on the campus of Penn State Fayette. You can watch the action live at bit.ly/GAVM18 or by following our social media channels using the #GARoadtoNationals.