Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s basketball coach Gene Brunoknew his sixth-seeded team had its work cut out going into the Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs, with theprobability that all of its games would be on the road. But that was no deterrent. After knocking off third-seededPenn StateSchuylkill on Sunday, the Wildcats outscored second-seededPenn StateWilkes-Barre 8-3 over the final 3:10 ofMonday night’s game for a 69-64 win that lifted them into the conference championship game for the first time. Tonight at 8, Penn College travels to top-seeded PSU Beaver with the title at stake. Also on Monday, Penn State Beaver outdidPenn StateDuBois, 89-80, to improve to 19-7 overall and 16-1 in the PSUAC. In its regular-season finale Thursday, Penn College lost to Beaver at home, 111-93. “We’ve got to take care of business … They’re a very good team … The last thing they want to see coming throughthe door is the Penn College Wildcats,” Bruno said afterhis team improved to 14-13 overall and 12-5 in the PSUAC. With Monday’s game tied for the sixth time at 61-all, Greg Solyak(Lancaster) hit a 3-point shot and Joe Simon (Renovo), playing with abroken nose, connected on 4-of-6 foul shots down the stretch to securethe victory. Solyak finished with a team-high 20 points, while Noor Ford(Williamsport) added 16, Leroy Joiner (Williamsport) had 15 and Simon12. Bruno called Ford his team’s “unsung hero,” noting that he scored14 first-half points and provided great defensive play throughout. In two seasons, Joiner has 998 career points and can join teammates Simon and Solyak as 1,000-point career scorers Monday.
Also at stake is a berth in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II tournament, which will be awarded to the game’s winner. Ten teams will square off March 2-6 at Penn State Fayette in Uniontown to decide the national champion, and Bruno, in his 14th season,would like nothing better than to show what his team is capable of there, too.