The Penn State Wilkes-Barre Men's Basketball team advanced to the semi-finals of the PSUAC playoffs last night with a victory over Penn State Lehigh Valley, with a final score of 83-54. Levaugn Soules led the team with 22 points and 11 rebounds. He was extremely efficient on offense, shooting 8-10 from the field and 6-7 from the free throw line. The team jumped out to a 52-30 halftime lead and never looked back from there. Their next game will be against the #1 seed in the PSUAC playoffs, Penn State Greater Allegheny.
In the first matchup of the season, Greater Allegheny came away with a 1 point victory, 45-44. Wilkes-Barre had a 26-19 halftime lead, but were unable to maintain their lead. George Prota hit 2 free throws with 2 seconds remaining to give Greater Allegheny the final lead of the game. This came after Wilkes-Barre Guard Kevin Silverberg hit a 3 pointer with 15 seconds left to give his team the brief 44-43 lead. The teams are expecting another close matchup in the playoffs.
For Wilkes-Barre, the team will look to Levaugn Soules to play with the energy he is known to play with. He leads the team in scoring (11.6 PPG), rebounds (7.7 RPG), and blocks (1.6 BPG). He also leads the team with a 57.4 FG%. His contribution in the game will be a huge factor in the outcome of the game. Another key player will be Tomir Gibbs, as his intensity on defense will have to be on point. He leads the team with 2.2 steals per game. Senior Point Guard Shakur Jackson will have to keep the team composed on offense, and he leads the team in assists with 3.2 APG.
The team has multiple players in the Top 10 in statistical categories in both the PSUAC and the USCAA. Levaugn Soules ranks 4th in the PSUAC in FG% (57.8%), tied for 10th in rebounds (7.7), and 2nd in blocks (1.6). He also ranks 5th in the USCAA in blocks. Tomir Gibbs ranks 4th in the PSUAC in steals with 2.2 SPG. Other PSUAC statistical leaders are Davaughn Roberts, who ranks 9th with a 53.1 FG%, Kevin Silverberg, who ranks 3rd with a 39.3 3pt FG%, and Nick Doolin, who ranks 7th with a 38.2 3pt FG%.
As for Greater Allegheny, they enter the playoffs as the #1 seed, winning a tie breaker over Penn State Brandywine. The main focus on their offense will be Junior Guard Jordan Payne. He leads the team with 19.7 PPG, a 44.7 3pt FG%, and an 86.6 FT%. If his game is clicking on offense, they will have strong chance to get the win. Curtis Newby is another key contributor. He averages 10.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG, and shoots 52.6% from the field. Other important players are Khari Hicks (5.7 APG) and George Prota (1.2 BPG).
Greater Allegheny also has players ranked in the Top 10 in both PSUAC and USCAA catergories. In the PSUAC, Jordan Payne ranks 4th in PPG, 1st in 3pt FG%, and 3 in FT%. Curtis Newby ranks 1st in RPG and 7th in FG%. Khari Hicks ranks 1st in APG, and George Prota ranks 5th in BPG. In the USCAA, Jordan Payne ranks tied for 8th in PPG, 4th in FT%, and 44.7 3pt FG%. Curtis Newby ranks tied for 4th in RPG, and Khari Hicks ranks 3rd in APG.
Wilkes-Barre's Head Coach, Leshawn Hammett, is in the 3rd year with the team, and this is their second straight semi-finals apprearance. He is confident that the team will play well and not be nervous going against the #1 seed. The game will be Saturday, February 17th @ 3pm, and it will be played at Penn State Brandywine, the host of the semi-finals.