LANCASTER, Pa. –
Senior Jordan Prior (Cortland, N.Y.) matched a collegiate high 26 points to pace second seeded Morrisville State College men's basketball to a 91-72 victory over third seed Penn St. Abington Saturday afternoon in North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) semifinal tournament action in Lancaster.
The win advances Morrisville State (18-8) to the NEAC finals for the third straight season, and they look to make it a three-peat as they face top seeded, and host, Lancaster Bible College tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Prior collected 22 of his 26 points in the first half, leading the pack that saw four additional players notch double figures. Jailaan Kinsey (Syracuse, N.Y.) added 16 points, 10 of which came in the second half, including back-to-back buckets that regained a double digit lead for the Mustangs as Abington was threatening to post a comeback. Kinsey added five rebounds, three assists and two steals to his tallies.
Hanks posted a double-double, snaring a team high 13 rebounds while dishing out four assists and stealing two. Wilk also added four assists to his tallies, while teammate Sherard King (Bronx, N.Y.) helped the Mustangs control the boards 47-33, with 12 of his own.
Mike Marvin led Abington with 23 points, as teammate Avery Barnes contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds to the losing effort. Nisiar Smith added 14, and Max Alton 12 to round out the Nittany Lion leaders.
Both teams played relatively close in the opening half, but three straight long balls from Prior and Kinsey midway through opened the Mustang lead to 11, with 12 minutes to go in the first period.
Abington was able to make it a four point game with 3:25 to go, but Morrisville State went on a 10-0 run to close out the half, and head into the locker room with a 51-37 advantage.
The Mustangs had hot shooting in the first half, hitting 47.4% from the floor on 18-of-38 shots, and was 5-for-7 (71.4%) from beyond the arc, while converting 10-of-12 from the free throw line.
Abington normally controls the offensive glass against opponents, but this time it was Morrisville State, who had 11 of their points come on second chance opportunities in the opening stanza, holding the 6-3 edge in offensive boards.
In the second, the Mustangs continued where they left off and built up a 19 point lead with 12 minutes to go, but a 15-3 Abington run cut it to nine with 6:41 to go.
Back-to-back jumpers by Kinsey in the paint ended Morrisville State's scoring drought and regained the double figure lead that proved too much for the Nittany Lions to overcome as the Mustangs collected the win.
Morrisville State capitalized off 11 Abington miscues alone in the second half with 14 additional points, 22 total on the day.
The two-time defending NEAC champions will meet Lancaster Bible for a third time on the season, with a championship title and trip to the NCAA Championship Tournament on the line. They split the regular season action, dropping a 57-59 decision to the Chargers in Lancaster on December 7, before posting the 94-86 victory on the Mustangs home court on February 7.
Morrisville State sets the world in motion for students. Curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President's Higher Community Education Service Honor Roll. The college was recognized, by U.S. News and World Report, in its top tier Best Regional Colleges list and ranked second among regional colleges nationwide for outperforming its anticipated graduation rate. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.