Penn State York Men's Basketball defeated Penn State Mont Alto on the road, 76–68, in a Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) semifinal game, Friday, February 22, and advances to Sunday's championship game.
York, the #2 seed in the East, avenged a four-point regular season loss at Mont Alto, the #1 seed in the West, on the shoulders of senior Derrick Hoffman (Manchester, Pa. / Northeastern), who scored 25 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench. On a night when the visitors managed only 3–15 from distance, York made up for its cold shooting by outrebounding Mont Alto, 44–30, and outscoring the home team in the paint.
Neither team could gain any separation in the first half, with York temporarily staking the largest lead at just six points in the early going. Anthony Bennett, Jr. (Aberdeen, Md. / Aberdeen) tipped in his own missed layup just before the half and York went into the break up 35–32.
In a game that saw 16 lead changes, the teams continued the back-and-forth battle through much of the second half until a Justin Luton (Baltimore, Md. / Newtown) layup gave York a 54–53 lead with 7:09 to play. Mont Alto would never catch York, as the visitors kept scoring in the paint and making their free throws as time wound down. York stayed hot at the line, making 19–21 free throws on the night.
Michael Coleman (York, Pa. / Northeastern) scored 12 points, pulled down 6 rebounds, and had 4 steals for Penn State York, while Bennett, Jr. recorded 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. Luton, who was named to the PSUAC All-Conference First Team just before the game, had 8 points, all in the second half, along with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.
John Gillespie (Lancaster, Pa. / Lancaster Mennonite) had 7 points for the visitors, as did Joey O'Dwyer (Baltimore, Md. / Dulaney). Sahnei Day (Philadelphia, Pa. / Abraham Lincoln) rounded out the scoring with 7 points, as well as 6 rebounds and 5 assists in 21 minutes off the bench.
With the win, Penn State York now moves on to play Penn State Wilkes-Barre in Sunday's PSUAC Championship at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. Wilkes-Barre, the #1 seed in the East, defeated Penn State Shenango, 65–40 in Friday evening's other semifinal.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre owned a 2–0 advantage over York in the regular season. The teams opened PSUAC play in York in late November, when Wilkes-Barre carried a slim lead over York for most of the game and held on for a 78–73 win. Bennett, Jr. led York with 19 points in that one, while Gillespie scored 14 and Luton 13.
On the last day of the regular season, in the second game of a back-to-back and with playoff seeds already set, York mostly rested its starters on the road and took a 73–53 loss. Dominic Webb (Edgewood, Md. / Harford Tech) led York with 11 points in the loss.
Tip-off for Sunday's championship game is set for 4:00 p.m. Penn State York is looking for its first conference championship since a run of three straight from 2013–15. The York campus has organized a bus trip for current students, faculty, and staff to attend the game.