SELINSGROVE, Pa. – After suffering a tough defeat in Saturday’s Pepsi Tipoff Tournament Championship, the Susquehanna men’s basketball team responded with a victory on Monday night, defeating Penn State Harrisburg 79-65.
The Crusaders (3-1) had a balanced scoring attack with five players recording double-digit points, led by a game-high 14 from senior center Harley Sellinger (Mill Hall, Pa. / Central Mountain), who finished with a double-double, pulling down 11 boards.
Guards Steven Weidlich (Watchung, N.J. / Watchung Hills) and Jake Eskin (Germantown, Md. / Churchill) each scored 13 points and Wally Rutecki (Springfield, Pa. / Springfield) and Matt McGugan (Silver Spring, Md. / Blake) added 11 points apiece to pace the Crusaders.
Sophomore Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md. / Salisbury Prep.) chipped in with eight points and a contest-best nine assists as SU shot 50 percent from the field (28-of-56) and out-rebounded the Lions (1-3) by a 41-30 margin.
In the first half, the Crusaders stormed out to a 10-4 lead capped off by a Weidlich three-pointer before the Lions went on a quick spurt to cut the advantage to one (10-9). But SU responded with a run and went up by 10 points (22-12) on another Weidlich three with a little over seven minutes remaining in the opening period.
The Lions pulled within five (22-17) but a 6-0 run including a pair of Rutecki layups handed SU a 31-19 edge with 4:22 left. McGugan and Sellinger each hit two field goals in the last four minutes of the first half as the Crusaders claimed a 43-27 lead at halftime.
In the second period, Penn State Harrisburg trimmed the lead down to seven (50-43) at 14:41, but an old-fashioned three-point play by Rutecki gave the Crusaders a double-digit lead once again at 12:54 (58-45).
The Lions countered with a 7-1 spurt to inch within six (63-57) but consecutive three-pointers by McGugan and Hedley with six minutes left all but wrapped up the non-conference victor y for SU.
The Crusaders remain at home to host Elizabethtown on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. SU fell to the Blue Jays 66-64 last season.
Game Note: The Lions are coached by Don Friday, who assisted Frank Marcinek for the 2012-13 campaign.