No. 1 seed Hilbert reached the championship game of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference playoffs with an 80-75 victory over Pitt-Bradford Saturday afternoon before 450 at Hafner Recreation Center in Hamburg.
However, the Hawks’ opponent won’t be No. 2 Penn State-Behrend as expected. The Lions were upset by No. 3 seed Pitt-Greensburg, 67-64, in overtime to set up Sunday’s pairings for the 1 p.m. championship game. At stake will be an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Hilbert shot 8 for 16 from three-point range in its victory. The Hawks scored 34 points in the paint, 16 of them by 6-foot-6 forward Jerame Owens, who had 21 points and was 5 for 5 at the foul line. Jalen Smith had 16 points, including 4 of 9 threes, and Sean Weisansal and Ryan Bradt had 10 points each for the winners.
Evan Greening led Pitt-Bradford with 22 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Hilbert led nearly the whole way against Pitt-Bradford but never comfortably. The Panthers took a 14-13 lead on a three-point play by Greening in the first half and rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to go in front, 64-63, on three-point shot by Eric Matheson.
Hilbert then went on an 8-0 run on three-pointers by Smith and Weisansal and a layup by Owens to reclaim the lead. Hilbert wasn’t home free, though, until a fastbreak layup by Bradt made it 79-72 with 18 seconds left. It was the ninth straight win for Hilbert (22-4)
Hilbert swept two regular season AMCC games against Pitt-Greensburg, winning 101-87 and 101-82.
Mike Connelly had 21 points to lead Pitt-Greensburg in its upset of Behrend.
Pitt-Greensburg (18-9) outrebounded Behrend, 40-35, as Rocco Constritano (11 rebounds) and Marcus Thomas (10) led the effort on the boards.