Waynesburg men’s basketball mounts huge comeback, wins in overtime over Penn State Behrend

The Waynesburg University men’s basketball team captured their first win of the 2021-2022 season by beating the Penn State Behrend Lions in overtime in a close matchup. The road victory of 60-57 from all the way up in Erie, Pa. brings their record to 1-1 overall. 

The Lions jumped on the Yellow Jackets quickly by leading 22-11 early in the first half. The Yellow Jackets battled back by going on a huge run taking the lead 26-24 going into the final half of play. 

Senior guard Matt Popeck credited their big run late in the first half and the overall victory of the team to coming together, and staying calm while playing as a team.

“We stayed together and we stayed relaxed,” Popeck said. “We knew there was a lot of ball left to play and we just played together which led us to get the win.”

Popeck led Waynesburg in points over the Lions putting up 18. Sophomore Bryson Wilt posted 13 of his own for the night, and graduate student Nijon Kirkman had 12 points and 11 rebounds in the battle against Penn State Behrend. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Wilt and Kirkman each had three steals. Two of Kirkman’s steals came during Waynesburg’s run at the end of the first half to take the lead. The importance of defense during this matchup was emphasised by the Yellow Jacket’s head coach Tim Fusina. 

“Defensively we executed our game plan and played extremely hard,” Popeck said. “Pressuring the ball, being in a help position and being able to get stops is something we all take pride in.”

The second half of play was back and forth. The Lions found themselves with the last possession of the game and had two shot attempts to beat the Yellow Jackets, but neither shot scored. As the time expired on the clock with the score tied, the game was sent into overtime.

In overtime Waynesburg outscored Penn State Behrend 6-3. All six of the Yellow Jacket’s points came from Kirkman. 

This first win of the season sets the Yellow Jackets off on the right foot for their next upcoming game traveling to Hiram on Saturday Nov. 20. 

“I’m very happy with getting the win and how hard our team fought,” Popeck said. “Our effort day in and day out is outstanding. We are continuing to grow and get better as a team and this win is something we can keep building on.”

The Yellow Jacket Print Newspaper is back for a Special Fall 2021 Edition.

Pick up your copy around campus Friday, December 3! Copies will also be available at select locations around the community. Happy holidays and happy reading!