MEDIA, Pa. -- For the first time in 27 years, the Penn State Brandywine men's basketball team has reached the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship as the Lions bested Penn State York 80-69 on their home floor during the semifinal round on Saturday evening.
Brandywine, seeded second, will meet the No. 4 seed, Penn State Wilkes Barre on Sunday at 1:00 pm for the PSUAC crown. Wilkes Barre knocked off top-seeded Penn State Greater Allegheny earlier Saturday.
Making its first postseason appearance since 2012-13, Brandywine will aim for its first-ever men's basketball conference championship. The Lions last played for the league title during the 1990-91 season when they dropped an 84-82 decision to Penn State New Kensington and will be making just their third appearance all-time in the championship round.
Leading Brandywine on Saturday was Isaiah Lester (Morton, Pa./Ridley), who scored 22 points, including six three-pointers, on 7-of-12 shooting. He buried four triples in the first half, with three coming during the first seven minutes, to help Brandywine overcome an early eight-point deficit.
James Fisher (Philadelphia, Pa./Upper Darby) knocked down five triples for Brandywine, which buried 13-of-25 as a team, and scored 21 points, while Terrence Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Communications Tech) added 18 points and seven rebounds. Donte Winfield (Philadelphia, Pa./Simon Gratz) produced eight points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Ameer Staggs (Ridley, Pa./Ridley) hauled in a team-best nine boards.
Lester, Fisher and Brown combined for 40 of Brandywine's 44 first-half points as the Lions took a one-point edge into the break. Brandywine trailed throughout the half until Brown's layup with 1:52 left put the Lions up 42-40.
The teams traded the lead back-and-forth throughout the first seven minutes of the second half before Lester's triple pushed Brandywine in front 62-58 with 12:33 to play, beginning an 11-4 spurt to moved the lead to 70-62.
York closed within one following a pair of free throws from Derrick Hoffman at the 5:30 mark; however, that is as close as the visitors would get as Brandywine held York scoreless during the remainder of the game.
Brown and Staggs added to the Lions' lead as each sank a bucket and Brandywine shot 6-of-6 from the free throw line during the final minute to secure its victory.
The triumph was Brandywine's 19th of the season, the third-highest total in program history. The last time Brandywine reached 20 wins was 2005-06 when the Lions won 21 games.
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