Nick Novak scored a career-high 35 points and became Pitt-Johnstown’s all-time leader in made field goals, but it wasn’t enough for the Mountain Cats as they lost to Seton Hill, 86-80, Saturday afternoon at the Sports center.
UPJ ended the regular season with a 14-12 record and a 10-12 mark in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Novak, a product of Franklin Regional High School, needed three field goals to tie the Pitt-Johnstown record of 735 established by Justin Walther (1996-2000). Novak made 14 of 24 field-goal attempts and now has 746 makes for his career. Novak already owns the UPJ assists record with 535 and his 35 points give him 1,988 for his career.
The game went back and forth, but Pitt-Johnstown maintained a slim margin throughout until the Griffins (15-11, 12-10) took their first lead at 34-33 on Kameron Taylor’s layup with 3:27 remaining in the first half.
Things remained close until Seton Hill’s Ozren Bjelogrlic hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 67-61 lead with 9:06 remaining. UPJ tied the game at 69-all before Seton Hill seized the lead for good on Malachi Leonard’s old-fashioned three-point play with 2:13 left.
Seton Hill made 5 of 6 free throws in the closing minutes.
Bill Luther finished with 12 points for the Mountain Cats while Andrew Cressler chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds. Paul Weatherly, a Greater Johnstown graduate, scored nine points. Noah Hartung, one of three seniors along with Novak and Central Cambria product Jordan Miller, grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
UPJ shot well as it made 31 of 58 attempted (53.4 percent), but Seton Hill shot it better. The Griffins went 29 of 51 (56.9 percent) from the field and 9 of 15 on their 3-pointers to go with a 19-for-23 performance at the free-throw line. Oliver McGlade led Seton Hill with 25 points.
The Mountain Cats are the ninth seed in the WVIAC Tournament and play at No. 8 Concord on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
St. Francis 70, Monmouth 68: In Loretto, Anthony Ervin scored 19 points to do his fair share in a win for St. Francis over Monmouth at DeGol Arena.
The victory lifted the Red Flash to 4-3 since the calendar turned to February and, with five wins in the Northeast Conference, they have matched last year’s conference win total.
Ervin has scored 41 points over the past two games and Earl Brown finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for his 10th double-double of the season.
The Red Flash (5-22, 5-11) has won two straight games. Ben Millaud-Meunier continued his late-season surge with 12 points and Ollie Jackson added 11 points before fouling out.
“Scoop (Ervin) has played unbelievably well these past two games and has made some big plays for us,” SFU coach Rob Krimmel said. “I couldn’t be happier for Scoop or for Tony (Peters) to go out, on their senior day, on a high note.”
Ervin added, “It means a lot (to get the win), I figured I’d leave it all out there these last two home games. I give thanks to my head coach for giving me the opportunity to get out there so I had to play hard these last two for him.”
St. Francis took a 68-63 lead when Millaud-Meunier made a 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the second half. Monmouth trimmed the deficit to two points with 12 seconds remaining on Dion Nesmith's layup, but the Hawks (10-19, 5-11) were unable to claim the lead.
Jesse Steele could have put Monmouth ahead with his 3-point attempt, but his shot missed and the Red Flash held on for the victory.
The Red Flash led for all but three minutes and by as many as 10 in the first half, but Monmouth was able to stay within striking distance.
“When you get a team down like that, that’s when you have to execute better,” Krimmel said. “We have to continue to do a better job stopping those runs other teams get and turn a 10-point lead into a 16 or 17 point lead.”
Nesmith led the Hawks with 20 points on 7 of 13 shooting and four 3-pointers. Steele had 19 points and six turnovers.
Seton Hill 64, Pitt-Johnstown 55: Kelsey Sleighter scored a team-high 15 points and Jasmine Harper finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for Pitt-Johnstown in a loss to Seton Hill at the Sports Center.
The Lady Cats made only 19 of 64 field goals (29.7 percent) and fell to 14-11 overall and 12-10 in the WVIAC.
Despite the loss, UPJ earned the No. 8 seed for the conference tournament and will host Charleston on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
After a Rachel Johnson 3-pointer gave the Lady Cats a 15-12 lead midway through the first half, Seton Hill (16-12, 13-9) went on a 25-13 run to take a nine-point lead at 37-28.
UPJ battled back and tied the game at 44 on a Nicole Carman layup, but the Griffins scored the game’s next six points and never trailed from there.
Kaitlynn Fratz scored 11 points for UPJ while Johnson finished with 13 rebounds. Paige Alviani scored a game-high 22 points and Katie Gattuso finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for Seton Hill.
St. Francis 69, Monmouth 56: In Loretto, Alli Williams flirted with a triple-double as St. Francis routed Monmouth at DeGol Arena
Williams finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals to lead the Red Flash (14-12, 9-6). The SFU defense forced a season-high 30 turnovers in the game. Alysha Womack scored 21 points to lead the Hawks (12-14, 9-6).
“Overall it was a very good effort,” SFU coach Joe Haigh said. “I think it was a great team win tonight, especially with our defense.”
St. Francis jumped out to a commanding 17-8 lead after a jumper from Rebecca Keegan. The Hawks battled back to within three after a 6-0 run with 4:32 to play in the first half. SFU closed out the frame on a 9-0 run and took a 30-18 lead into the locker room.
Keegan scored 13 points to set a career high to go with six rebounds. Eleven different Red Flash players recorded points in the game.