Men’s Basketball Bows Out of USCAA’s in Semifinal Loss

Senior Derrick Hoffman takes a free throw in the PSUAC Championship Game.
Senior Derrick Hoffman takes a free throw in the PSUAC Championship Game.

Penn State York Men's Basketball bowed out of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II Basketball Tournament after a 77–65 loss in the semifinals to #5 seed Johnson & Wales (NC) Tuesday, March 5. York, the #9 seed in the national tournament, navigated the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) tournament on the strength of its defense, winning the conference championship on the way to an exciting run in the USCAA's, first defeating #8 seed Central Penn College, then scoring the upset of the tournament, knocking off #1 seed and four-time defending champion Berkeley College of New York in the quarterfinals.

Penn State Wilkes-Barre, the team York defeated in the PSUAC Championship Game, also represented the conference well in the national tournament, ultimately defeating Johnson & Wales the next night to become national champions.

In the semifinal, Penn State York grabbed the momentum midway through the first half, going into the break on a 20–6 run to lead, 35–28. Johnson & Wales came out hot in the second half though, shooting 51.4% from the field, including 46.2% from beyond the arc to wrest control from York. A small York run of three straight layups from Derrick Hoffman (Manchester, Pa. Northeastern) and John Gillespie (Lancaster, Pa. / Lancaster Mennonite) cut Johnson & Wales' lead down to 5 with 6:56 to play, causing the team from Charlotte, Nc. to call a timeout. An ensuing 9–0 run pushed Johnson & Wales' lead to 14 with 5:13 left, and York couldn't get closer than 8 after that, as J&W made enough of its free throws to put the game away.

Penn State York was led by its three seniors. Hoffman recorded a double-double, scoring 18 points on 8–12 shooting and pulling down 11 rebounds, while also blocking 4 shots to cap off a streak of great performances through both end-of-season tournaments. Anthony Bennett, Jr. (Aberdeen, Md. Aberdeen) scored 17 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Second Team All-American Justin Luton (Baltimore, Md. / Newtown) managed just 3 points but recorded 10 rebounds.

Larry Rascoe (Harrisburg, Pa. Susquehanna Township) scored 7 points and had 3 steals in 17 minutes off the bench, while starter Michael Coleman (York, Pa. / Northeastern) recorded 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Freshman Gillespie scored 4 points and had 3 steals and 2 rebounds.

As a team, Penn State York had a cold shooting night from distance, only making 2–22 from 3-point range while shooting 37% overall.

Penn State York finishes the season as PSUAC Champions and with a 22–9 overall record. Bennett, Jr. led the team in scoring, with 12.8 points per game, followed by Luton (11.4), Hoffman (9.2), Gillespie (7.5), and Coleman (7.2).

Coach Parrish Petry and his team made the campus proud, and will likely be in the conversation again as a leading team in the conference as next season tips-off in the fall.