The final day of the 2015-16 regular season was a night Griffin fans will never forget.
Just hours after Seton Hill’s women’s team clinched a playoff berth with an upset win over IUP, the men faced a similar scenario against the PSAC West champs. Following the Lady Griffins lead, the Seton Hill men locked up a playoff berth as well and completed a nightly sweep of IUP, with a 91-83 win.
The Griffins (13-13, 11-11) either needed a win or a Slippery Rock loss to lock up a playoff berth, and they took care of it themselves just before UPJ finished off The Rock. To no one’s surprise, Kameron Taylor was the catalyst to the upset win. In his final home game, Taylor scored a game-high 30 points and 13 rebounds, continuing his recent hot stretch. Taylor helped Seton Hill control the second half scoring 21 of those 30 points, and received a standing ovation from a rocking McKenna Center when he exited the game.
The Crimson Hawks (20-7, 17-5) were able to grab a five-point lead early in the second half, but Seton Hill’s offense trounced IUP the rest of the way. The Griffins finished over 50 percent shooting for the fourth straight game, overcoming Daddy Ugbede’s 26 points for the Crimson Hawks.
Offense will most likely be the name of the game Saturday night when Seton Hill travels to face Pitt-Johnstown in the first round of the PSAC playoffs, seeking their first ever PSAC playoff win. IUP gets the weekend off as division champs, and will play the winner of that Seton Hill-UPJ game Tuesday night at home.
Pitt-Johnstown 80 Slippery Rock 65: Pitt-Johnstown gained a whole new set of fans last night. The Mountain Cats destroyed Slippery Rock’s season with an 80-65 win, to give the Clarion Golden Eagles the final spot in the PSAC playoffs. Both teams came out firing, but eventually it was the relentless three-point shooting from the Mountain Cats that ended The Rock’s season. UPJ used a 14-0 run to open up a close game in the first half, and The Rock never got close again. A.J. Leahey and Nate Snodgrass led the Mountain Cats again with 20 and 19 points, respectively, including seven of the Mountain Cats 12 three-pointers.
UPJ (17-10, 13-9) finished at a staggering 60 percent from three-point range for the game, and 52.9 percent overall from the field. The Mountain Cats will be a tough out in the PSAC playoffs if they keep this shooting up. UPJ will host its first-ever home PSAC playoff game Saturday night against Seton Hill, a team it swept in the regular season. Slippery Rock’s season ends in disappointment knowing it controlled its own destiny. The Rock (15-13, 10-12) did receive a career-high 20 points from Abdul King, along with 19 points from the Cornelius Brown in their final games. This is the first time in six seasons that Slippery Rock has missed the playoffs.
Edinboro 79 California 75: Cal fought valiantly to try and earn head coach Bill Brown a win in his final game, but ultimately came up short against the Fighting Scots, 79-75. In a game that saw an early halftime due to roof leakage from torrential rains outside, the Vulcans kept pace most of the game with the high-powered Fighting Scots’ offense. In the end, there was just much more consistency from Edinboro’s shooting, led by a game-high 28 points from Jaymon Mason. Edinboro finished at 50 percent from the field for the game, while dominating the glass, to lock up the three seed for the playoffs. The Fighting Scots (15-10, 14-8) will welcome in the Clarion Golden Eagles Saturday afternoon for the first round of the playoffs, just two weeks after the two teams played a thrilling overtime game. Cal ends the season in last place with 10-straight losses at (7-21, 4-18). Brown finishes his 20-year career at Cal with a 365-210 record, and a 490-337 record overall. Brown will go down as the winningest coach in Vulcan men’s basketball history, and also sits fifth all-time in wins in PSAC history.
Mercyhurst 76 Gannon 47: The Lakers used a second straight dominating first half to pull away from their cross-town rivals, and completed the season sweep of Gannon, 76-47. Merychurst turned the game into a shooting gallery from the start, going 57.1 percent from the field in the first half along with seven three-pointers. The Lakers (7-19, 6-16) finished a scalding 56 percent for the game, led by a game-high 23 points from Jean Onana. The senior has had his struggles in his final season, but broke out in big way Wednesday to help lead the Lakers into playoffs on a three-game winning streak after losing three games. Mercyhurst will have the weekend off before returning to host a quarterfinal game Tuesday night against the winner of Clarion-Edinboro. Jean-Yves Toupane was the lone Gannon player score in double-digits, seeing their nightmare season mercifully end at (7-19, 6-16).