Brandywine Survives Overtime Thriller; Advances To USCAA Semifinals

Donte Winfield
Donte Winfield

MEDIA, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine's historic men's basketball season continued on Thursday afternoon as the fifth-seeded Lions eliminated No. 4 NHTI 91-86 in overtime, advancing to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament semifinals for the first time in program history.

Brandywine (21-7), making its first-ever appearance at the national level, will face the winner of the No. 1 Berkeley - No. 9 Vermont Tech game on Friday night at 5:00 pm with a berth in the national title game on the line. The Lions are the first men's team from Brandywine to record a win at the national tournament and join the softball team (2016 & 2017) as Brandywine's only squads to reach a USCAA semifinal.

Senior point guard Donte Winfield (Philadelphia, Pa./Simon Gratz) produced one of the top single-game performances in Brandywine history, tallying 32 points, a school-record 21 rebounds and seven assists. Winfield, who shot 15-of-18 from the free throw line, broke Michael Menichini's 22-year-old school rebounding record which previously stood at 20 boards. Menichini had also registered the only 20-point, 20-rebound game in program history (Jan. 18, 1996) until Thursday, while Winfield's 30-point, 20-rebound effort is the first in the team's 49 seasons of basketball.

James Fisher (Philadelphia, Pa./Upper Darby) added 21 points, seven rebounds and six helpers, while Terrence Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Communications Tech) totaled 15 points and eight boards. Dwayne Coleman (Philadelphia, Pa./Delaware Valley Charter) tallied nine points and Ameer Staggs (Ridley, Pa./Ridley) collected eight points and 11 boards, while Isiah Cook (Reading, Pa./Reading) rounded out those in the scoring column for Brandywine with six points, including three clutch free throws that put Brandywine in front for good in overtime.

A first-time Penn State University Athletic Conference champion, Brandywine trailed 29-22 late in the first half following a 9-0 NHTI spurt, but rallied to tie the score at 31-31 on a Staggs layup with 1:11 to go and closed the half with the final nine points to grab a 35-31 edge at the break.

The Lynx scored the second half's first four points tie knot the score, but Brandywine exploded for 14 of the next 16 points, moving their lead as large as 12 points when Fisher buried a triple with 13:36 to go in regulation.

NHTI quickly answered with an 11-0 run and briefly took a one-point lead when Javan Parkinson sank two free throws at the 9:23 mark.

A Fisher triple followed by two Winfield free throws stretched the margin back to six points for Brandywine, but the Lynx tied the score by knocking down two free throws with 1:46 to play and missed on a final three-point heave at the conclusion of regulation, sending the game to overtime.

NHTI moved in front 84-80 midway through the extra session; however, Winfield connected on a triple and Staggs added a basket to send the Lions back in front. After NHTI tied the score on Joe Simpson's basket with 41 seconds left, Cook was fouled while shooting a three-pointer and sank all three of his ensuing free throws to give the Lions an 89-86 advantage.

Simpson's triple was off the mark at the other end of the floor and Winfield grabbed the board before being fouled. He drained both of his free throws to secure the victory for Brandywine.

Brandywine shot 40 percent from the field and knocked down 25-of-33 free throws, while managing to overcome 26 turnovers. The Lions bested the Lynx on the glass, holding a rebounding margin of 63-53.

Brandywine's victory was its 21st on the season, tying the 2005-06 squad for the second-highest, single-season victory total in team history. A win on Friday would make Brandywine the fifth PSUAC team to play in the national title game since 2013-14.

York Downs Brandywine 78-73
February 6, 2018 York Downs Brandywine 78-73