WASHINGTON, D.C. – No. 18 Gallaudet fell to North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) foe Penn State-Harrisburg 64-53, handing the Bison their first loss of the season.
Gallaudet (20-1, 17-1 NEAC) saw its program-best 20-game win streak end along with a 13-game unbeaten home mark. The Bison last lost at home on Feb. 15, 2010, when York (Pa.) College won 70-54. The Bison fall to second-place in the conference behind Keuka College (20-1, 18-1).
The 20-0 start to the season is the best in program history.
“Today was a tough game. You have to give a lot of credit to Penn State-Harrisburg as they made plays and had a nice win,” said Gallaudet coach Kevin Cook, now in his fourth season at the helm. “I am proud of our team for winning 20 straight and now we just need to bounce back. We have four games this week and we will be ready. We can and will play better.”
The contest was a fierce back-and-forth battle to start, as the lead changed nine times in the first half, and only one point separated the teams at halftime, 30-29. It was the first time the Bison have trailed at halftime this season.
GU regained the lead early in the second half as the Bison led 34-30 with 18 minutes left in regulation. The lead was the largest since a five-point advantage at 23-18 with 5:33 left in the first half. Gallaudet relinquished the lead for good at the 15:15 mark when Penn St.-Harrisburg (16-6, 15-4) drained one of its four 3-pointers in the second half.
The Bison had a difficult time making shots in the second half, as they hit only 9 of 29 shots (31 percent) from the field and went 6 for 13 (46.2 percent) at the free throw line. A difference in the game was the shooting from 3-point range by the Nittany Lions as they made 7 of 20 (35 percent) compared to Gallaudet’s 1 for 10 (10 percent).
Senior forward/center Easter Faafiti led the way for the Bison with 18 points and 13 rebounds in 40 minutes – all game-high totals. It marked the 14th consecutive double-double for the All-American and 16th overall this season. Faafiti surpassed 900 career points in a Bison uniform in two seasons.
GU senior center Nukeitra Hayes returned to action for the first time in three weeks and netted nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds to go with two blocks. Freshman forward Tandy Lewis came off the bench to net 11 points and brought down seven rebounds.
The Nittany Lions held the Bison to their second-lowest point total of the season. GU entered the game as the best scoring offense in the NEAC averaging 70.1 points per game.
Penn St.-Harrisburg forward Daril Foose had 15 points and six rebounds to lead the Nittany Lions before fouling out late in the second half. Guard Monet Cunningham had 12 points and four rebounds while Miranda Zeanchock tallied 11 points, nine on 3-point shots.
The third-place Nittany Lions forced 20 turnovers in the game that led to 21 points. In the past two games the Bison have committed 48 turnovers.