SILVER SPRING TWP. — The State College Little Lions maintained their unbeaten roll through the Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division on Tuesday night as they beat Cumberland Valley 70-56 in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate.
State College (10-0, 6-0 Commonwealth) jumped out quick on the Eagles as the length and athleticism of the Lions caused seven turnovers in the opening four minutes. They jumped out to 13-2 and 16-4 leads before the Eagles started to work the ball around the press.
Cumberland Valley (5-7, 3-2 Commonwealth) rallied to get within six at 16-10 and 21-15 after eight minutes. Max Reznitchenko dropped in three runners and Ty Banach drained a 3-pointer near the buzzer.
The Lions tallied six of the first eight points in the second quarter only to watch the Eagles go on a 10-1 run. A trey by Banach gave the Eagles a 32-31 lead, but the visitors scored the final five points to take a 35-32 lead into the locker rooms.
A 16-5 burst from the Lions from their press gave them a 51-37 lead. Brandon Clark was huge on the boards for State College, and he got plenty of help from mates Drew and Tommy Friberg and Ryan McNulty. The Lions used their height to break the CV press by throwing the ball over top.
“We have some height and we are looking to put pressure on teams quickly,” Lions coach Joe Walker said. “We did that well in the first and third quarters, but we wasted numerous chances by forcing the ball rather than making the extra pass. We aren’t where we need to be yet.”
A Banach bucket cut the Lions’ lead to 12 at 53-41 after three quarters, but that was as close as the Eagles could get.
A key statistic for SC was eight put-back baskets on the offensive glass. The Eagles unofficially had 21 turnovers, as well.
Reznitchenko and Banach led the Eagles with 18 points each for a team that is above .500 in the division despite an entirely new starting five and first-year head coach Eric Richardson, who was not available for comment after the game.
Drew Friberg had 18 for the Lions, while Tommy Friberg added 15 and McNulty had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Clark had eight points and seven rebounds in limited minutes.