MEDIA, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine led by 21 points at the half and increased the lead to 26 points early in the second period, but needed to hold off a furious rally from the University of Valley Forge, escaping with a 76-74 victory during its final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday night.
Brandywine got off to a hot start from beyond the arc as Bryce Barrouk (Glen Mills, Pa./Rustin) and Jacob Hunt (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) knocked down a combined five three-pointers in a span of 2:58 to give the Lions a 25-11 lead through nine minutes.
Pat Gallagher (Broomall, Pa./Marple Newtown) sank a pair of free throws at the 6:38 mark, upping the edge to 20 points for the first time. UVF trimmed the margin to 17 points, but Barrouk canned a jumper, giving him 18 first-half points, with 30 seconds to go in the period to send Brandywine into halftime with a 50-29 advantage.
Back-to-back baskets from Hunt increased the lead to 69-43, the biggest of the game for Brandywine, with 13:10 to play, but Valley Forge mounted a rally over the final 13 minutes.
Josh Smith (Glassboro, N.J./Glassboro) ended a 10-0 UVF run with a triple at the midway point of the second half; however, the Patriots held the Lions scoreless for nearly seven minutes, scoring the next 13 points to get within six.
Hunt's layup with 3:40 to play ended the Lions' drought, but Sean Word and Steven Eng knocked down consecutive triples, pulling the Patriots within 74-72. Hunt added another layup before Aaron Hill countered with an off-balance jumper to keep the margin at two points with under 30 seconds to play.
A Brandywine jumper was off target during its final possession, giving the visitors a chance to tie or win with three seconds on the clock; however, a three-pointer from Cody Collins missed the mark, allowing Brandywine to escape with its fourth-straight victory.
Brandywine received 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting from Hunt, while Barrouk collected 18 points and Smith chipped in 15 points. Smith and Dwayne Coleman (Philadelphia, Pa./Delaware Valley Charter) tied for the team lead with eight rebounds and Hunt tallied four assists and three steals.
The Lions shot 38 percent from the field overall, but just 27 percent during Valley Forge's second-half rally. Valley Forge, aided by a 20-point, 27-rebound performance from Word, held a 46-35 edge on the boards.
Brandywine (7-4, 3-2 PSUAC) returns to conference play Wednesday night at Penn State Lehigh Valley (8:00 PM).
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