The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 16, 2010

Branch sets UPJ mark in victory

JOHNSTOWN — Danny Branch was one of six Pitt-Johnstown players to score in double figures against Penn State-New Kensington on Monday night at the Sports Center as the Mountain Cats blitzed the Division III Lions 103-51 in a nonconference clash.

The lone senior on the UPJ men’s basketball squad, Branch finished with 12 points in the blowout, but it wasn’t just another night on the court for him.

The 6-foot-4 guard from Washington, D.C. passed Steve Scorpion (2002-06) as UPJ’s all-time 3-point leader. Scorpion had 190 treys, and Branch now stands at 191 after hitting a pair of 3-pointers on Monday.

“I feel blessed that I’ve been able to play at this (Division II) level,” the humble Branch said. “I just like to play basketball and enjoy myself. We always stress unselfishness and we all like to score, so we spread the ball around. I don’t even really consider myself a 3-point shooter, I consider myself a slasher. I like to go on the floor and get easy baskets, but I like to shoot 3-pointers, too.”

“I told our guys in the lockerroom, that Danny’s a senior and I remember like yesterday when he was a freshman,“ UPJ coach Bob Rukavina said. “As a freshman, he came into a game and we called it the Danny Branch factor, he came in an hit 3’s right off the bench, and he’s done it his whole career. He set the record and it’s well-deserved. He’s really matured over the last couple years, and he’s being a leader this year. He’s one of the best guards in the conference.”

All 11 Mountain Cats who played scored at least five points, and it was an opportunity for Rukavina to watch many of his younger players in a game situation.

“It was good for a lot of these guys to get in there,” the UPJ coach said. “A lot of time, once league play starts, a lot of these guys aren’t going to get the opportunity to play much.”

Central Cambria graduate Jordan Miller topped the Mountain Cats scoring with 14 points with Patrick Grubbs supplying 13 points and seven rebounds.

Conemaugh Township’s Kevin Byer and Johnstown High School’s Paul Weatherly each contributed 11 points and Noah Hartung chipped in 10.

“The kids are very unselfish,” Rukavina said. “We probably have six or seven guys capable of putting up 20 every night. I tell them it’s going to be someone different every night and to keep sharing the ball and make that extra pass.”

The Lions were led by 14 points from Ta-Wayne Steele and 10 from Daryl Harrington.

UPJ led 37-20 at halftime and despite shuttling in a changing cast of players on the floor in the second half outscored the undermanned Lions 66-31. The Mountain Cats also outrebounded Penn State-New Kensington 48-30.

“They are a Division III school that we play every year, and I live about two miles from the campus, so we should probably go there sometime,” Rukavina said. “In these games, we play hard and we want our guys to get something out of  it, and I thought we did. We played good defense and shared the basketball. We were a little sluggish the first half, but in the second half we picked it up.”

Pitt-Johnstown travels to Davis & Elkins, W.Va., for a WVIAC game on Wednesday.

“We won 17 games last year and it was the youngest team I ever had,” Rukavina said. “We only lost two guys and our young guys are a year older, so I think we’re better than we were last year, but the league is the best it’s been since I’ve been here and our schedule is probably the toughest. You have to be ready to play every night or you’re going to lose.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

AP Sports Video

Should the NFL get rid of the extra-point attempt after a touchdown?

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow