Postseason Begins Tuesday For Brandywine Basketball Teams

Brandi James/Bryce Barrouk
Brandi James/Bryce Barrouk

MEDIA, Pa. -- The Penn State University Athletic Conference Tournament gets underway for Penn State Brandywine's men's and women's basketball teams Tuesday night with quarterfinal action. The Brandywine women play at home, while the men are on the road. Both games begin at 7:00 pm.

Brandywine's women, who finished the season with a 17-8 overall record and 14-3 conference mark, earned the No. 2 seed and will host No. 3 Penn State Hazleton in the first round. The Lions defeated Hazleton twice this season, including a 45-point victory just seven days ago in Hazleton.

During Brandywine's 83-61 home victory over Hazleton in November, Brandi James led five double-figure scorers with 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. James and Nikki Velez, both 1,000-point scorers, led the Lions' offense during the regular season, averaging 15.0 points and 13.5 points per game, respectively.

No strangers to the postseason, Brandywine and Hazleton have met three times in the playoffs in the last five years. Brandywine claimed a 71-53 PSUAC championship victory in 2016 behind a 20-point, 10-rebound effort from Velez and then knocked off Hazleton in the USCAA Tournament 76-69 less than two weeks later. However, Hazleton was victorious the last time the teams met in Media, rallying from 17 points down to win a PSUAC semifinal game 65-59 in 2015.

A victory on Tuesday night would send Brandywine to the PSUAC semifinals. The Lions have reached the semifinal round during each of the first 12 years of Head Coach Larry Johnson's tenure and in 13-straight seasons overall. Brandywine is the two-time defending PSUAC champion and has won four titles during's Johnson's time on the bench.

Brandywine's men, seeded third, make their return to the postseason to face No. 2 Penn State York. After enduring a four-year postseason drought from 2013-17, the Lions have reached the conference tournament for the second-straight year and are the defending PSUAC champions for the first time.

Despite dropping four of its last six games to conclude the regular-season, Brandywine secured its spot in the tournament with a 10-9 league record (14-11 overall). Brandywine should be ready for the postseason having played a host of tightly-contested games over the last two weeks. Its four losses came by a total of 11 points, including one in overtime, while its two victories came by scores of 71-70 and 88-85.

The 88-85 triumph came Saturday at Penn State New Kensington, clinching the third seed for the Lions. Jacob Hunt netted 22 points, topping the five starters in double figures for the Lions. Hunt, a freshman, is the team's leading scorer (14.3 ppg) and one of two rookies averaging double figures (Bryce Barrouk - 12.2 ppg). Overall, five players average at least 8.7 points per outing, including Pat Gallagher, who ended the season scoring in double figures in nine-straight contests, averaging nearly 17 points per game during that stretch.

Brandywine and York matched up twice during the regular season and despite the Lions leading in the second half of both games, York swept the series. Nine days ago, the Lions were in front by nine points with nine minutes to play, but were held without a field goal the rest of the way and suffered a 66-65 road loss.

Last year, Brandywine and York were semifinal opponents in the PSUAC Tournament, a game won 80-69 by Brandywine on its home floor. The Lions held York scoreless for the final 5:30 of the contest to reach their first championship bout in 27 years.

The PSUAC is split into divisions this season for the first time, bringing about a new PSUAC Tournament format. Four teams from each division earned playoff bids. In the quarterfinals, team will play within their respective divisions; however, the semifinal round will cross over with the top team from the east hosting the lowest remaining seed from the west and vice versa.

Despite neither being the top seed, both of Brandywine's teams could still host semifinal games on Friday night if they were to advance out of the quarterfinals. The men would need No. 4 Hazleton to topple No. 1 Wilkes-Barre, while the women need No. 4 Scranton to upset No. 1 Lehigh Valley.

PSUAC Women's Tournament:
Quarterfinals - Tuesday, Feb. 19 (at higher seed)
East No. 2 Brandywine vs. East No. 3 Hazleton
East No. 1 Lehigh Valley vs. East No. 4 Scranton
West No. 1 Beaver vs. West No. 4 DuBois
West No. 2 Greater Allegheny vs. West No. 3 Fayette

Semifinals - Friday, Feb. 22
Semifinal 1 - West lowest remaining seed at East highest remaining seed
Semifinal 2 - East lowest remaining seed at West highest remaining seed

Championship - Sunday, Feb. 24
1:30 PM at Bryce Jordan Center (University Park, Pa.)

PSUAC Men's Tournament:
Quarterfinals - Tuesday, Feb. 19 (at higher seed)
East No. 2 York vs. East No. 3 Brandywine
East No. 1 Wilkes-Barre vs. East No. 4 Hazleton
West No. 1 Mont Alto vs. West No. 4 Beaver
West No. 2 Shenango vs. West No. 3 Greater Allegheny

Semifinals - Friday, Feb. 22
Semifinal 1 - West lowest remaining seed at East highest remaining seed
Semifinal 2 - East lowest remaining seed at West highest remaining seed

Championship - Sunday, Feb. 24
4:00 PM at Bryce Jordan Center (University Park, Pa.)