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Men's Basketball Ends Season With Overtime Loss to Lake Erie in AMCC Tournament
02/26/2003

PAINESVILLE, OHIO — Lake Erie erased a five-point deficit with 23 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, and the host Storm outscored Frostburg State, 14-5, in the extra session to pull out a 90-81 victory over the Bobcats in the first round of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Tournament Wednesday night.

The Storm, who improved to 12-13, advance to the Friday's semifinal round, where they will face No. 1 Penn State Behrend at 1:00 pm.

The Bobcats, who were seeking their third straight AMCC Tournament championship game appearance, finish their season with a 10-16 overall record.

In other first-round action Wednesday, No. 7 Penn State Altoona stunned No. 2 La Roche, 67-65, and No. 3 Pitt-Bradford topped No. 6 Pitt-Greensburg, 74-51. Pitt-Bradford and Penn State Altoona will meet in Friday's other semifinal contest at 3:00 pm at Penn State Behrend.

The championship game will be held Saturday at 1:00 pm.

Frostburg State held a 73-67 lead with 1:40 to play, but Lake Erie capitalized on a 10-second violation and a key lane violation to force overtime.

With the Bobcats ahead, 75-70 lead with 23 seconds left, Brandon Henderson sank a three pointer with 15 ticks on the clock to pull the Storm to within two.

Senior A.J. Ernst (Minster, Ohio/Minster) then hit a pair of free throws, but FSU was whistled for a lane violation on the second shot to give Lake Erie life, 76-73.

Junior Aaron Johnson came through in the clutch for the Storm, as his three-pointer with seven seconds pulled the hosts even.

Ernst just missed the potential game-winning three in the final seconds as the team went to overtime. Lake Erie sealed their third win of the year over the Bobcats by hitting 12-of-14 free throws in the extra period.

The Storm controlled much of the first half, building a 37-28 lead with 1:34 left before the break. However, the Bobcats rallied, scoring seven unanswered points to cut their deficit to 37-35 at halftime.

Senior Pierre Bowery (Kensington, Md./Einstein), who tied his own school record with seven blocks and finished his final season with a school-best 68, gave FSU its first lead of the night, 41-40, when he hit a jumper with 15:55 remaining.

The Bobcats extended their lead to 50-44, but the Storm eventually knotted the game at 55 with 9:27 to go.

The teams were tied at 78 when FSU was called for a technical foul after Johnson was fouled. The Storm junior hit three-of-four from the charity stripe, and Lake Erie tacked on six more shots from the line to open an 87-81 lead with 1:02 left.

Nate Malensek scored 17 points to lead four Storm players in double figures. Henderson finished with 16, while Johnson and Mike Rustifo added 13 and 11, respectively.

Bowery and junior Myro Small (Berlin, Md./Stephen Decatur) each scored 18 points to pace the Bobcats, while Ernst finished with 15 points. Junior Ryan Grabill (Boonsboro, Md./Williamsport) added 15 for FSU, which hurt itself with 22-of-33 shooting from the free-throw line.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780
E-mail: sportsinfo@frostburg.edu