Messiah Moves Into Finals With Win Over PSU Wilkes-Barre 63-40
Grantham, PA — For the second time in as many games, the Messiah College Falcons used a combination of defensive pressure and transition offense to earn a double-digit win. On this night, the Falcons defeated PSU Wilkes-Barre, 63-40, in the first round of the men's basketball tip-off tournament at Messiah College.
Less than five minutes into the game, the Falcons held a one-point advantage, 6-5, over PSU. In the next 9:59, the Falcons would run off a 17-5 differential as they were on their way to 30-16 halftime lead.
Five different players would score for Messiah during that 17-5 run, including sophomore Kyle McGovern. McGovern scored four points and grabbed two rebounds in the stretch.
"Kyle really played well tonight, played a big role for us," said Van Pelt of McGovern, who would collect career high's in minute (16), points (7), and rebounds (6).
Altogether through the first 20:00, Messiah would score 12 points off their opponent's turnovers, a similar theme for Van Pelt's team early this season.
"We have a group of guys that can switch from defense to offense pretty quickly," said Van Pelt. "We haven't always had that, but it's a strength for us right now. Our guys know how to attack in the full court, and we've been effective in transition."
In the second half, Messiah would continue to push the tempo to create high-percentage looks at the basket. The Falcons would shoot 56.5% from the field in the second half (13-23), ending the game with a 48% performance from the field. They also shot 4-11 from three-point range.
The Falcons would outscore PSU 33-24 in the second frame, completing a 63-40 victory. For the second straight game, Messiah forced their opponent into more than 20 turnovers, with PSU giving the ball away 23 times.
"We didn't have a real good scout on (PSU) because it's so early in the season," said Van Pelt, whose team moves to 2-0. "We started the game conservatively on the defensive end, because we didn't know what they were capable of. We made adjustments early with our pressure, and it played to our advantage."
The Falcons' backcourt played a large role in their offensive efficiency, as sopohomore Christyan DeVan and freshman Zach Hoy combined for nine assists and only one turnover from the point guard position. Hoy, along with sophomore Brad Bolen, also scored nine points.
"Zach played a good game tonight," said Van Pelt of Hoy, adding that he thought Hoy played a little tight in his first career game on Tuesday. "He makes everyone around him better. He's also a pretty good defender, which gets overlooked because Christyan (DeVan) is so good on the defensive end. But Zach- he's smart, and always in the right position."
The Falcons were led in scoring by junior swingman Derek Mosley, who continued his high-percentage shooting this year with a 5-6 performance from the field for 14 points. Mosley also grabbed five rebounds.
Sophomore David Fernandez added 12 points. Senior Trey Ritzman scored six points to go along with three steals.
PSU was led in scoring by Travis Dunlap, who shot 5-8 from three-point range on his way to a game-high 18 points.
With the win, Messiah moves into the tournament's championship match-up with New Jersey City University. The Knights (2-0) defeated Williamson Trade School in their Friday game, 84-35.
The consolation match-up between Williamson Trade and PSU Wilkes Barre is 12:00 noon on Saturday, with the Falcons and Knights scheduled to tip-off at 4:00 p.m.