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Morrisville State men top Harrisburg in 77-68 conference thriller

MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – In a thriller of a contest, the Morrisville State College men’s basketball team converted six straight free throws in the closing seconds to hand the visiting Penn State Harrisburg Nittany Lions a 77-68 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) loss Sunday afternoon in Morrisville.

Morrisville State bumped their record to 14-7 overall and remain undefeated in conference play at 11-0, while the Nittany Lions fell to 17-5 overall, dropping their first contest of the season in NEAC play (10-1).

Kucjok Ater (Syracuse, N.Y.) led all scorers on the day, hitting 6-of-9 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the free throw line for a best 21 points, while adding 11 boards. Three additional teammates posted double figures in the victory, including Brandon Hanks (Syracuse, N.Y.) with 16, adding 13 rebounds, three steals and five assists in the double-double performance. Mickey Davis (Jamesville, N.Y.) posted 15 points, adding six rebounds, four assists and three steals, while teammate Hodges Sneed (Syracuse, N.Y.) tallied 11 points and grabbed five boards.

Four tallied double digits for the Nittany Lions, led by William Doyle with 17, who hit five from behind the arc. Steve Jones added 13 points and led Harrisburg on the glass with eight boards, also stealing three. Kenton Alston and Jordan Gatchell each contributed 10 in the loss.

Morrisville State got off to a slow start, managing just four points in the first four minutes of the contest, until Ater hit a lay-up to spark a 12-0 run over the next two minutes to claim the 16-8 advantage over the Nittany Lions.

The Mustangs maintained the narrow lead, until Doyle nailed his fourth three of the half to tie the contest at 32 with 1:45 showing on the clock. In a chaotic final 10 seconds of the first, Harrisburg posted a five point halftime lead, converting two free throws on a bench technical, and Doyle a three and the buzzer to send the contest into the break with a 37-32 score.

Harrisburg and Morrisville State played to a back and forth second half until 3:40 to go when Andrew Lucio (Solvay, N.Y.) nailed one from downtown to give the Mustangs the 67-66 lead.

With 54 seconds to go, Doyle converted two free throws to cut the Morrisville State lead to three, but the Mustangs pulled away in the final 36 seconds, as Davis hit both free throws and Ater 4-of-4 from the charity stripe, securing the conference win.

Morrisville State hit 27-of-57 from the floor and 18-of-23 from the free throw line in the contest, holding Harrisburg to just 34.7 percent from the floor in the contest, while controlling the glass 49-36 in the contest.

The Mustangs return to the floor Tuesday at Wells, with a tip scheduled for 5 p.m.

Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit to experience, Morrisville in motion.