(ERIE, Pa.) - The Carnegie Mellon University men's basketball team traveled north to Erie, Pennsylvania to play the Lions of Penn State Behrend on Wednesday, December 7. The Tartans dropped a 76-65 contest and are now 4-4 overall while the Lions improve to 5-2.
Carnegie Mellon used an 11-0 run over a five-minute stretch to grab a 22-8 lead with 9:31 to play in the first half. During the stretch, the Tartans converted all five shot attempts with the spurt ending with five points from freshman Zach Howarth (Freehold, N.J./St. John Vianney).
Behrend responded with a 9-2 scamper over the next four minutes to cut the deficit in half at 24-17. Following a timeout by Carnegie Mellon, junior Ryan Maha (West Mifflin, Pa.) rattled off eight straight points for the visitor's, including back-to-back three-pointers, to push the lead back to double digits at 32-17.
A long ball by Howarth with 49 seconds left in the half gave the Tartans their largest lead of the frame at 37-21. Following a pair of free throws by the Lions and a layup from Carnegie Mellon's senior James Ormond (Piedmont, Calif.), Behrend's Malquan Pullium made the score 39-25 at the break with a tip-in as time expired.
The Lions opened the second half on a 10-2 run to make the score 41-35 three minutes into play. Behrend continued to have the hot hand, as the Lions converted 8-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc, over the first seven minutes of play and cut the Tartans lead to 49-48 with 12:56 left on the clock. Three minutes later a layup by Behrend's Connor McLaughlin knotted the score at 53-53.
With 5:14 to play a Dan Wanker three-point basket gave Behrend its first lead since two minutes into play at 58-57. The Lions lead grew to 61-57 following a pair of fouls shots by Andy Niland with 4:08 on the clock.
Behrend continued to hold the lead the rest of the contest and converted 10-of-10 from the foul line over the last 1:12 to play to seal the 76-65 victory.
After shooting 53.3% (16-30) from the floor in the first half, Carnegie Mellon finished shooting 41.8% (28-67) for the contest. Behrend shot 56.0% (14-25) from the floor in the second half and ended shooting 44.4% for the game. The Lions were 11-of-22 from behind the arc including draining 8-of-15 in the second half while the Tartans made 6-of-17 from long range, but converted only 1-of-9 in the second frame.
Senior Jack Serbin (New Albany, Ohio) once again led the Tartans with 16 points and 15 rebounds to record his sixth double-double of the season. His 15 rebounds ties a season-best, as he also tied a season-high with three blocks. Senior Chris Shkil (Mentor, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) chipped in with 15 points and Maha ended with 12. Shkil hauled down eight rebounds while sophomore Seth Henry (Fulton, Md./Reservoir) also recorded a career-best eight and added six points.
Five Lions scored in double figures with Pullium leading the way with a career-high 24 points. Nilland finished with 16, McLaughlin had 12 and Wanker and Justin Gorny each tallied 11.
The Tartans will be idle until December 28 when they entertain Saint Mary's University (Minn.) at 2:00 p.m. on the hardwood of Skibo Gymnasium.