After playing a very competitive first half at the PSU Greater Allegheny Tip Off tournament, the Golden Eagles went scoreless for two stretches in the second half and fell to the hosts 86-79. The first drought lasted nearly three and one-half minutes as the Navy and Gold came up empty on seven possessions, when they missed five shots and committed two turnovers.
KSU Tusc had to be feeling good about themselves after taking a 46-41 lead to the locker room at halftime. Eight Eagles cracked the scoring column led by Malik Campbell's 10 points on 3/5 shooting and perfect 4/4 free throw shooting. After trailing early, they turned up the defensive heat and scored 17 points off of PSUGA turnovers and also made five steals.
Things were back and forth early in the second half until the Lions took a 56-55 lead at the 13:01 mark. They leapt out to a six point advantage before the Eagles righted the ship momentarily with a basket to draw to within 61-57. Then the first power outage hit and the Eagles found themselves down 69-60. A Campbell trey cut the deficit to six, which was as close as the game would get because the winners built leads of 10 and 14 points. PSUGA made the most of extra looks in the game, as they outscored KSU 21-9 on second chance opportunities.
Campbell led Golden Eagles scorers with 19 points, sinking 5/10 field goals and 8/8 free throws to go along with three steals. Also in double figures were Gunnar Tharp with 18 and Arthur Jackson, who had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
For the game the Eagles made one more field goal than the Lions, converting on 28/69 shooting for 41%. They were 12/13 from the charity stripe, but PSUGA held another big advantage making more free throws (20-27) than the Eagles attempted.
On Saturday the Golden Eagles return to McKeesport to take on PSU Fayette in another 5 p.m. tip.