November 18, 2015

Second-half run, free throws do in Grove City at UPG

GREENSBURG, Pa. -- The Grove City College men's basketball team held a halftime lead but 15 missed free throws and a 25-5 Pitt-Greensburg run spanning more than 11 minutes in the second half proved to be the difference as the Wolverines fell to the Bobcats 79-73 in non-conference action inside Chambers Hall Gymnasium on Wednesday night.

Senior guard Joe Vermilya (Sylvania, Ohio/Southview) led Grove City (1-1) for the second-straight game with 16 points while junior forward Tyler McGrath (Pottstown, Pa./Owen J. Roberts) posted a career-high 15 points in just 21 minutes off the bench. Sophomore forward Cory Huff (Kersey, Pa./Elk County Catholic) and senior forward Caleb Knudsen (Saylorsburg, Pa./Pius X) each contributed 12 points with Huff adding a team-high six rebounds.

After an even first five minutes of action, the Wolverines would go on a 14-2 run, bookended by threes from Huff and Vermilya, to take a 24-11 lead with nine minutes remaining in the first half. A jumper by freshman guard Gabe Goode (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) at the 3:08 mark would give Grove City its biggest lead at 15 points, and the Wolverines would maintain that double-digit advantage into halftime with a 45-32 lead at the break.

A Vermilya layup to open the second half would push Grove City's lead back to 15 points at 47-32 at the 18:32 mark, but from there, the Bobcats would go on a 25-5 run to lead 57-52 with seven minutes remaining as the Wolverines shot just 2-11 from the field and committed 11 turnovers during that 11-minute stretch.

The Wolverines would continue to battle, closing within two points on a pair of occasions. A Vermilya three-pointer at the 4:20 mark would cut the Bobcat lead to 62-60 but Pitt-Greensburg's Jerell Figueroa answered with a triple of his own to push the lead back to five. A McGrath three and a Knudsen layup would once again close the deficit to two points at 67-65 with 2:39 to play, but Figueroa once again would drain a three to push the advantage back to five, and the Bobcats would hit six free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.

Grove City shot 28-58 (48 percent) from the field, including 9-19 (47 percent) from three-point range but made just eight of 23 free throw attempts (35 percent) compared to a 21-25 (84 percent) performance at the line for the Bobcats.

The Wolverines will play two pre-determined games this weekend in the Geneva College Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Tournament. The Wolverines will face Kenyon on Friday at 5:30 p.m. before taking on Eastern on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Box Score

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