Crimson Hawks clinch PSAC West division; win streak extends to 13 games

during the first half of an NCAA pre-season basketball game in Philadelphia, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (Photo/Rich Schultz)

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The IUP men’s basketball team extended its win streak to 13 games after an 84-63 victory over Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) foe, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Mountain Cats.

The Crimson Hawks found success from the 3-point line, as IUP hit a season-high 16 3-pointers. Leading the way for the Crimson Hawks was guard Aryon Hutton (junior, communications media), who only needed 17 minutes to collect 14 points off four 3-pointers.

Four other players were able to collect double-digit points for IUP. Jacobo Diaz (sophomore, economics) collected 12, while Anthony Glover (junior, marketing), Dante Lombardi (sophomore, business) and Malik Miller (freshman, communications media) all collected 11 points.

Diaz fell short one rebound of collecting his 10th double-double of the year.

Out of the 30 field goals IUP scored, 22 were off an assist. Diaz, Lombardi, Glover, Miller, Devon Cottrell (senior, communications media), Brandon Spain (senior, communications media) and Blake Danielak (junior, finance and legal studies) all recorded assists for the Crimson Hawks Wednesday night.

Wednesday night’s victory has allowed the Crimson Hawks to clinch the PSAC West division and host a playoff game next week at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex (KCAC).

IUP has taken a committee approach to keep this 13-game win streak rolling.

“I think this is the most complete team we have had, and definitely the most balanced scoring,” Cottrell said. “Our balanced scoring makes us so hard to scout and prepare for because you can’t key in on one guy.”

With this win, IUP was able to clinch its seventh PSAC West title in the last nine years. The fourth-ranked Crimson Hawks have earned home-court advantage and a first-round bye in the PSAC Conference Championship tournament. With a huge advantage moving forward, Cottrell and his teammates know that their work is far from done and aren’t taking anything for granted.

“We just need to keep focus; winning the [PSAC] West is a big accomplishment, but it doesn’t mean we are finished.” Cottrell added. “We won the [PSAC] West last year and didn’t make the tournament, so we know we have got to keep focus during this final stretch of the season.”

Moving forward, the Crimson Hawks will be traveling to Edinboro University to take on the Fighting Scots, who currently hold a 6-15 record.

Despite facing a team with a losing record, the Crimson Hawks still have their first televised game to get excited about.

Starting at 1 p.m., the American Sports Network (ASN) will televise the game to a national audience. For those unable to connect to the ASN, both games will also be streamed live on ESPN3, the ESPN app and NCAA.com.