HAZLETON, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine took over sole possession of third place in the Penn State University Athletic Conference East Division and moved one win closer to securing a postseason berth by edging Penn State Hazleton 71-70 on Monday night.
With two games remaining in the regular season, Brandywine owns a 9-8 conference record (13-10 overall) and needs to win one game or have Penn State Lehigh Valley lose one of its final three contests to reach the postseason for the second-straight year. The Lions can be seeded as high as No. 2 or as low as No. 4 depending on results during the next six days.
After trailing by 12 points at the midway point of the first half, the Lions trimmed the margin to 30-28 at intermission, using a 10-0 run spurred by five points from Pat Gallagher (Broomall, Pa./Marple Newtown) and two baskets by Anthony Lattanzi (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West).
Brandywine briefly tied the score at 43-43 when Bryce Barrouk (Glen Mills, Pa./Rustin) canned a jumper at the 14:26 mark to cap a 7-0 Lions' spurt, but Hazleton retook the lead 21 seconds later on a bucket by Andy Kwaitkowski.
The hosts maintained their edge until six-straight points, two each from Gallagher, Dwayne Coleman (Philadelphia, Pa./Delaware Valley Charter) and Jacob Hunt (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) sent Brandywine in front 61-59 with 7:01 to go. Hazleton knotted the score at 61-61, but back-to-back layups from Coleman and Lattanzi allowed Brandywine to push in front by four with under five minutes to play.
Coleman's layup at the 2:32 mark extended the lead to six points; however, Hazleton connected on four free throws in a span of 48 seconds to get back within one possession with 76 ticks left on the clock.
After being fouled, Barrouk sank a pair of free throws to make the score 71-67 and the Lions held Hazleton without a point on its next two possessions before a three-pointer just before the buzzer set the final margin.
Gallagher led all scorers with 18 points (7-13 FG; 4-7 3PT), his seventh consecutive double-figure scoring game, while Coleman and Lattanzi both produced double-doubles. Coleman coupled 12 points with a game-high 14 boards and Lattanzi added 10 points along with 11 rebounds.
Brandywine has a two-game trip to western Pennsylvania to end the regular season, beginning Friday at Penn State Shenango at 7:00 pm.