Penn State DuBois basketball teams enter final week of regular season

Penn State DuBois senior guard Jaiquil Johnson drives to the hoop for a layup during a recent game at the PAW Center, on the campus of Penn State DuBois.

Penn State DuBois senior guard Jaiquil Johnson drives to the hoop for a layup during a recent game at the PAW Center, on the campus of Penn State DuBois.

Credit: Penn State

DuBOIS, Pa. — With the end of the regular season closing in for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Penn State DuBois, the push towards playoff qualification in the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) is in full gear. With both teams having just two games remaining in the regular season and both sitting in the fourth and final seed in the playoffs, every remaining game for the Nittany Lions and Lady Lions truly matters.

The Lady Lions had a slow week when compared to others during the season, playing just one game on Feb. 17 when they hosted Penn State Fayette on senior day. A tightly contested game between the two evenly matched teams came down to the wire, not once but twice, with the homestanding Lady Lions pulling out the win in overtime 60-59.

Trailing by two with only seconds left in regulation, DuBois pushed the ball up the floor and Hailey Theuret got her shot away as time expired. The two-point shot tied the game and forced overtime. The overtime period was a low scoring affair and the first bucket for either team came with under two minutes left in the period when Stephanie Taylor made a layup to give Fayette a two-point lead. Turnovers and steals went back and forth for both teams until Rebecca Martin was fouled and went to the free throw line with 33 seconds left to go. After making the first to trim the Fayette lead to one, Martin missed the second and Fayette grabbed the rebound. The score would remain were it was until under a second to go in overtime. With DuBois inbounding the ball at the end of their own bench, Natalie Bowser received the inbounds pass and got a three-point shot away. Although the shot didn't go in, she was fouled in the process and went to the line to shoot three free throws, needing on make to tie the game and two to win the game. After missing the first free throw, and Fayette taking a time out, Bowser calmly stepped up and made the last two free throws to give DuBois the 60-59 overtime win.

The Lady Lions were paced by Martin, who had 17 points and six rebounds in the contest. Bowser secured a double-double, with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Frances Milliron also scored in double figures for the Lady Lions with 12 points.

Following the game, sophomore forward Megan Hyde was recognized for senior day, as she will be matriculating to another campus after this academic year to complete her degree program. Currently, in her basketball career at Penn State DuBois, the Northern Potter grad from Ulysses has played in 32 games, playing for 414 minutes and scored 66 points. She is also a member of the softball team at Penn State DuBois.

For the men’s team, they played two games last week, starting with a matchup against Butler County Community College (BC3). In a commanding performance at the PAW Center, Penn State DuBois dominated BC3 with a final score of 101-69. The home team showcased their offensive prowess, shooting an impressive 54.5% from the field.

Jaiquil Johnson led the charge for the Nittany Lions, contributing 25 points, while Kaleb Pryor demonstrated all-around excellence with 16 points and seven assists. Beau Verdill secured 13 rebounds alongside his eight points, underscored the team's dominance on the boards.

DuBois' three-point shooting was on point, connecting on 12 of 26 attempts, with Johnson and Kyron Harbin contributing significantly from beyond the arc. The team's defense also played a pivotal role, amassing 14 steals and limiting Butler County to only 69 points.

Despite Butler County's Ashton Neely's noteworthy 16-point performance, DuBois controlled the game from the outset. The home team's balanced offense, effective three-point shooting, and tenacious defense ultimately sealed their victory with an impressive 32-point margin.

The Nittany Lions then looked to keep their win streak alive when they hosted Penn State Fayette on Feb. 17 for senior day at the PAW Center. In what can only be described as a continuation on the commanding performance from the previous game, Penn State DuBois outclassed Penn State Fayette with a final score of 111-76.

The home team showcased an impressive offensive display, shooting 53.6% from the field and an astonishing 70.0% in the second half. The Nittany Lions dominated in multiple facets of the game, including points in the paint (52-42), points off turnovers (25-14), and bench points (39-15).

Leading the charge for DuBois was Johnson, who contributed 23 points, three assists, and one steal, on senior day when he was recognized as the lone senior on the men's squad this year. Pryor orchestrated the offense efficiently, tallying 10 points and a game-high nine assists. Harbin had a dominant presence in the paint, recording a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

The first half saw DuBois establish a 42-30 lead, but it was the second half where they truly asserted their dominance, outscoring Penn State Fayette 69-46. The home team's sharpshooting from beyond the arc in the second half (55.6%) played a crucial role in widening the gap.

Fayette, despite the efforts of Torian Jenkins with a game-high 28 points, couldn't withstand the offensive onslaught from DuBois. The visitors struggled to find consistency, shooting 43.9% from the field.

Prior to the win against Fayette, senior guard Jaiquil Johnson was recognized during senior day festivities. The Titusville High School grad and Upper Darby native, has currently played in 72 games in three years at Penn State DuBois, starting in 62 of those games.

With the win last week, the Lady Lions now find themselves having their record back to .500 for the season at 10-10 and 8-9 in the PSUAC. For now, that places them as the number four team in the west standings. That means, if the playoffs started today, they would be in the PSUAC playoffs. However, there is still another week of the regular season left to go. A member of the 1,000 point club at the campus, Johnson has amassed 1,208 points, 120 assists, 198 rebounds and 94 steals in his Nittany Lion career to this point.

Likewise for the men’s team, the Nittany Lions got their overall season record back to the .500 mark, currently standing at 13-13 and 8-9 in the PSUAC, thanks to a six-game win streak that the team is currently riding. They also currently sit as the number four seed in the western division standings entering the week and will be looking to hold that spot or improve upon it with the games that are left this week.

Both teams will start play this week on Tuesday when they travel to face Penn State New Kensington. The women’s game will begin at 6 p.m. and the men’s game will follow at 8 p.m. The Nittany Lions and Lady Lions will then close out the regular season on Friday when they travel to face Penn State Shenango, with the women’s game tipping off at 6 p.m. and the men’s game starting at 8 p.m. Both of these games will play a critical role in the playoff standings for both teams, as both games are western division matchups in the PSUAC.

For complete athletic schedules, including any weather-related changes, visit the Penn State DuBois athletic website.