WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senior guard Brandon McMillan (Frederick, Md.) saved the best for last as he posted career numbers Sunday on what would be his final home game in a Gallaudet University men's basketball uniform. He scorched the nets for 46 points and broke the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) single-game scoring record en route to leading the Bison to a thrilling 95-90 victory against Penn St.-Abington at the Field House on Senior Day.
McMillan fell one point shy of the school record of 47 held by Gallaudet Hall of Famer Kevin Milligan (Class of '67) set back in February 1965 when Gallaudet lost 114-112 in double overtime on the road against Washington (Md.) College in Chestertown, Md. McMillan did set a new school mark for field goals made (21) as he made 21 of 28 attempts and was 4-for-6 from three-point range. The 21 field goals made is also a new conference record. McMillan scored all 46 of his points, a new career-high, without attempting one free throw.
Gallaudet (11-11, 8-5 NEAC South Division) pushed out to an early lead that proved to be insurmountable as they held off a late surge from the visiting Nittany Lions (8-15, 5-7 NEAC South) in the second half. It was a fast-paced game from the opening tip, and the Bison used the up-tempo game to their advantage as they put on a passing display that consistently caught the Abington defenders out of position the entire first half. GU scorers slashed through the paint for numerous uncontested lay-ups and short-range jumpers, which included a breakout 24-point first half performance by McMillan, opening up a 16-point half time lead that proved to be too much in the end as Abington attempted a comeback late in the second half.
Joining McMillan in the starting line-up for their final home game together were fellow seniors Joshua Sechman (Harrisburg, Pa.), Tony Tatum (Gardendale, Ala.), Daniel Fava (Baltimore, Md.) and Layton Seeber (Champaign, Ill.). In addition to McMillan the other Bison to reach double figures included Tatum with 13 points and a team-high eight assists, Fava with 10 points and nine rebounds and Seeber who recorded a double-double with 11 points and a team high 14 rebounds. GU had the hot shooting hand all game, shooting 53.6 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from behind the three-point line in the second half to outpace the late charge from the Nittany Lions.
"Today was a great day for Bison basketball as we paid tribute to five seniors who have been invaluable to this program over the past several seasons," said Gallaudet coach Jeb Barber, in his fifth season. "This was a big game for us as we battle for a conference playoff berth. I want to thank all of the parents, family members, supporters who were present for our seniors and our strong alumni base that came back for this weekend to support Bison athletics."
Penn St.-Abington was led on the floor by their standout freshman forward Mike Marvin who tallied 24 points and 19 rebounds (11 defensive boards), and senior guards Will Alton with 24 points and a game-high 12 assists and Josh Howard's 16 points.
GU broke open the game with a quick 10-2 run in the first three minutes of action off of five straight lay-ups thanks to excellent passing that shredded holes in the Lions defense. Abington would close to within five points, 27-22, mid-way through the first half, but the Bison shut the Lions down once again as they outscored Abington 18-7 in the last nine minutes for a 45-29 lead at intermission.
The second half began much the same way as the first half ended as Tatum found Tyler Crace (Westfield, Ind.) streaking through the lane for an easy lay-up to extend the lead to 62-42 with 14:28 left in regulation. However, the Lions buckled down and went on a scoring terror, raking in 48 points in the last 14 minutes of the game. Abington closed to within four points off of a lay-up by Marvin with 25 seconds left, and began to intentionally foul GU in an effort to get back into the game, but the Bison were clutch from the charity stripe, hitting five of their last six free throws. McMillan sealed the victory for the Bison with a flying jumper through the lane with 12 seconds left on the scoreboard, increasing the lead to six, 95-89, and setting a new team-high point total on the season.
Gallaudet will close out the regular-season on Sunday, Feb. 19, as it travels to Reading, Pa., to take on Penn St.-Berks (7-13, 6-5 NEAC South).
2012 Gallaudet University Men's Basketball Senior Day