WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University men's basketball team battled out Penn State University-Berks for its conference-opening victory on Wednesday evening in the Field House on Padden Court, 86-78.
The Bison (1-5, 1-0 NEAC) and Nittany Lions (0-7, 0-1 NEAC) traded the lead 10 times throughout the matchup, but it was Gallaudet that built up the biggest lead in the tilt early on in the first half. By the 13:28 mark, the Bison quickly got ahead by 12 following a Trace Martin (Shingle Springs, Calif.) long ball to push a 21-9 advantage.
Penn St.-Berks, however, rallied back to take a two-point lead into the locker room, 44-42, and eventually push out to its largest lead less than two minutes into the restart, 49-42.
It remained tight the rest of the way through the game until another three-pointer by Martin sealed up the lead for the final time for the Bison with 2:56 left on the clock.
Six Bison earned double-figure scoring nights led by sophomore guard Noah Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) with 19 points. Senior forward Andy Cruz (Bronx, N.Y.) wasn't far behind with 18 points, while adding a team-high nine rebounds, a team-high five assists and a team-high five steals.
Penn St.-Berks was paced by a game-high 28-point effort by David Dimeo after shooting 11-for-17 from the floor, including 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.
- Freshman Preston Kelly (Fishers, Ind.) scored 14 points while juniors Jawaun Jackson (Downey, Calif.) and Jamal Garner (Jacksonville, Ill.) reach double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively
- Martin shot 4-for-6 (2-for-3 from three) for 10 points off the bench
- Valencia tied with Cruz for team-high five assists
- Cruz had a game-high two blocks
- The Bison forced 23 Nittany Lion turnovers, including 18 steals
Gallaudet kicks off December on the road this Saturday in another conference matchup at St. Elizabeth at noon.