Trailing by two points with under six minutes remaining, the Penn State York men's basketball team scored five straight points to take the lead and later pulled away in the final minutes to beat Penn State Mont Alto, 72-63, and capture its second consecutive Penn State University Athletic Conference crown on Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.
The big three of center Ben Todd and guards Tyler Martin and Josh Jamison proved to be clutch down the stretch. The trio combined for 16 of York's final 17 points and had 16-of-17 shooting from the free-throw line to close out the game. Martin (25 points, 12 rebounds), Jamison (20 points, eight rebounds) and Todd (10 points, 11 rebounds) combined to score 55 of York's 72 points. Red Lion Christian grad Logan Steckel chipped in eight points for the Yorkers.
A year after York (24-2) won the program's first-ever PSUAC title, the local Lions have now won back-to-back championships for the first time. They did so Tuesday behind 47.1 percent shooting from the floor (24 of 51) while holding Mont Alto to 36.5 percent shooting (27 of 74), including 5 of 20 from three-point range (25 percent). York also won the rebound battle, 45 to 34.
The game played out much the way the two previous regular-season matchups did between the pair of division rivals. York beat Mont Alto at home by four points on Jan. 18 and lost to Mont Alto on the road by four points on Feb. 11.
Tuesday's championship game featured 11 lead changes. Down 33-29 at intermission, Mont Alto opened the second half on a 9-3 run to take a 38-36 lead with 15:47 remaining. Mont Alto then grew its lead to 47-41 with 13:17 left and 55-49 with 8:03 remaining before York make its comeback, going on a 6-0 run from there to tie it up with 5:44 left and finally taking the lead back with 4:21 left on the clock.
The Yorkers will now turn their attention to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II tournament, where last year they lost in the opening round, 92-72, to Hudson Valley Conference champion Berkeley (N.Y.).