Bald Eagles get 75-64 win over Mansfield

LOCK HAVEN — When Mansfield and Lock Haven get together on the hardwood, it is usually a hard-nosed, physical game. Wednesday night’s contest at Thomas Field House was out of that same mold.

When the smoke cleared and the issue was decided, the Bald Eagles walked off the floor with a hard-fought 75-64 win.

“You expect games like that one,” said LHU head coach Mike Nestor. “The guys know just about everybody in the league whether from home, having faced each other before and through social media. They are either buddies or have some antimosity and they always want to compete against each other. Mansfield has a number of kids from the Philly area like we do and it was a battle like we expected it to be.

So what were the keys to getting the win?

“The biggest thing is that we did a really good job of not allowing them to do what they are usually very good at,” said Nestor. “We were able to do that and this is a very good win for us.”

Leading from the get go, the Bald Eagles had things their own way during the first half as they steadily built up a lead until they were on top by six at 34-28 after leading by 16 midway through the period.

“This time I saw a little slow closeout on Tyler Moffe who hit a three,” said Nestor. “Then you have (Malik) made a really big time move to hit a big time shot. Then when they hit the buzzer-beater, all of a sudden it is eight straight points or an 8-2 run and they are right back in the game. They came back and took the lead, but I thought we did a real good job of continuing to attack them, getting to the foul line.”

Keeping the momentum going they had built up at the end of the first half, the Mountaineers cut the LHU lead to 38-36 five minutes into the second half until they eventually tied the score at 42-all with 13 minutes left.

After a tie at 47-all Mansfield went on a scoring spurt that netted them five straight points for a 53-50 lead with eight minutes remaining.

After watching the Mountaineers take the lead, the Bald Eagles went to work on both ends of the floor led by Tarojae Brake to rip off a 15-2 run to go on top 63-55 with five minutes left.

Brake scored 11 of his 19 points in the final minutes as he put the team on his back to finish it out.

“It is funny because he looked a little off the first half and even into the second half,” said Nestor. “His shots weren’t smooth and they weren’t falling. Then all of a sudden he gets a nice little floater, a nice open pass for a three and then he put someone back on their heels. That is the stuff he is capable of doing and we see that in practice. He has the ability to carry the load if necessary and tonight he did, that is for sure.”

“I didn’t do anything differently, I just let it come to me,” said Brake. “I just relaxed and kept playing. Once I get one going, my confidence keeps it going for me.”

Amir Hinton led the Bald Eagles in the scorebook with 22 points, Hinton narrowly missing a double-double with eight boards. Joining Brake and Hinton in doubles was Matt Cerruti off the bench with 10 points.

For Mansfield, Matt Tomanosky led the way with 15 points, Carter also hitting doubles with 10 points.