Penn State Harrisburg, Morrisville State to Meet in NEAC Men’s Basketball Championship

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The Penn State Harrisburg Nittany Lions and the Morrisville State Mustangs will square off for the 2011-12 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Men’s Basketball Championship after each team posted come-from-behind victories in their respective semifinal round matchups today.

The championship game is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. in Morrisville, N.Y.  The winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The first contest of the day saw South Division regular season champion Penn State Harrisburg trailing the defending champion Wells College Express for the entire first half and 11 minutes into the second half.  That’s where the Nittany Lions would tie the game at 44, and it would be tied again at 51 all five minutes later before Harrisburg took the lead on a layup by freshman A. De Los Santos (Enola, Pa.) and would never trail again en route to the 72-64 victory.

Junior Steve Jones (Harrisburg, Pa.) led the way for Harrisburg with a team-high 20 points and a game-high four steals, while senior Kenton Alston (Harrisburg, Pa.) had 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.  Freshman Amani Glenn (Harrisburg, Pa.) added 11 points.

Wells senior Terry Harrison (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had game highs of 33 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks for Wells, while fellow classmate Andre Sawyers (Bronx, N.Y.) finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.

The Morrisville State Mustangs, the top overall seed and host of the tournament, also found themselves trailing in the second half, as they were down seven, 54-47, to Penn State Berks with just under 13 minutes remaining.  Morrisville would go on a 17-8 run over the next four minutes of action, though, to take a two-point lead, 64-62.  Morrisville would maintain the lead from there and hang on for the 86-79 victory.

Senior Kyle Gordon (Riverhead, N.Y.) had a team-high 16 points off the bench for Morrisville, while sophomore Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y.) posted 14 points, 10 rebounds and a game-high three blocks.  Sophomore Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) and junior Brandon Henry (Bronx, N.Y.) each scored 14 points, while senior Hodges Sneed (Syracuse, N.Y.) added 10 points.

Junior Jeff Schmidt (Orefield, Pa.) scored a game-high 17 points and pulled down a team-high 10 boards for Berks, while sophomore Shawn Green (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored 16 points.  Sophomore Tom Smith (Norristown, Pa.) had 13 points and a game-high five steals and senior Connor Hough (Telford, Pa.) chipped in 10 points.

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference has thirteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania State University - Abington, Pennsylvania State University - Berks, Pennsylvania State University -Harrisburg, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Institute of Technology, SUNY Morrisville State College, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Hilbert College (M Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse) and Rutgers University - Camden (M Golf).  The North Eastern Athletic Conference has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of baseball, women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s tennis.