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Lions Open Season With Heartbreaking 80-78 Loss to Waynesburg
11/15/2013 — ALTOONA, Pa. - Penn State Altoona men's basketball held a 15 points lead against Waynesburg University on Friday night in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in the Adler Gym, but the Yellow Jackets overcame their deficit in the second half en route to an 80-78 defeat of the Lions.
Jonathan Ross (Columbia, SC/Cross Creek) led all scorers with 25 points, while Evan Greening (Stafford, VA/Stafford) added 20 points for the Lions.
Penn State Altoona posted a stellar performance offensively in the first half, shooting 67.9% from the field and holding a lead of as many as 15 points with 5:13 before halftime.
Back-to-back three pointers by Ross midway through the first period gave the home team a 20-8 lead.
Dylan Leazier's (Hagerstown, MD/St. Maria Goretti) layup at 9:42 put the Lions up by 13, 25-12.
A pair of layups by Greening made it 37-22, and Leazier's score at 4:35 kept his team's lead at 15.
The Lions continued to click early in the second half. Greening's bucket at 17:58 made it 57-42.
But Waynesburg began to stifle Penn State Altoona's offense and claw back into the game. The visitors limited the Lions to a 29.0% field goal percentage in the second half.
Three-pointers by Casey Hope and Jacob Fleegle helped the Yellow Jackets cut it to 63-59 by the 8:53 mark. Fleegle and BJ Durham's treys several minutes later tied the game 66-66, then surged ahead 76-71 by 2:46 on Jason Propst's score -- part of a 24-8 run by Waynesburg.
Greening's layup and foul shot at 1:14 pulled Penn State Altoona back to within one point, 77-76, of Waynesburg's lead. After a free throw by the Yellow Jackets, Javon Wilson (Washington, D.C./T.C. Williams) went to the line with four seconds left and sank a pair of foul shots for the Lions to tie the game 78-78.
But Waynesburg put itself in a position to win, getting a foul call on a long pass down the court with 0.3 seconds on the clock. Propst made both free throws, and Waynesburg escaped with the win.
Penn State Altoona will face Juniata College in the 2:00 PM consolation game on Saturday, while Waynesburg plays Mount Aloysius College at 4:00 PM for the championship game.
Photo: Lions sophomore Michael Wigfield looks inside during Friday night's game against Waynesburg in the Adler Gym.