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Potomac State punishes PS-Fayette

UNIONTOWN - The Penn State-Fayette men's basketball team was looking to pick up its first win of the season as it entered Monday's game against Potomac State.

But it wasn't meant to be, as the Catamounts (6-4) got off to an 8-0 start and rolled to a 102-63 win.

LaTrell Applewhite led Potomac State with 28 points, and Joe Hardin poured in 23 in the victory.

"We've been playing well lately, and I'm happy about that, especially early in the season," Potomac State coach Matt Ryan said. "I'm a little nervous about playing this well."

Despite missing three players, two of them starters, the Catamounts coasted.

Gary Crum and Mike Culen came off the bench for the team, and Culen reached double figures, nailing 15 points.

Potomac sixth man Mike Cole was also in double digits, canning 10 points.

His team may have made it look easy, but Matt Ryan said any road game is tough.

"We could've come out here tonight and taken (Penn State-Fayette) for granted and have them stick around all night, or we could do what we did, which was come out here and put them away."

Penn State-Fayette assistant coach Vince Ryan filled in for head coach Budd Grebb on Monday, but it was Grebb's words that stuck in the minds of one Roaring Lion player.

"One of the players made a comment in the locker room at the end of the game," Vince Ryan said, noting that the player quoted Grebb. "The game is played on a five-and-a-half inch floor. It's all mental."

"Granted, they had more talent than us. We couldn't stay back in that zone all night. Their shooters were on," Vince Ryan said. "Then again, we had two kids (Terrance Fort and Courtney Jacobs) who have never played organized ball before on the court."

In addition, Penn State-Fayette (0-6) is without Rogene Truley and Nathan Lucosh, leaving the team with a short bench.

That bench performed well for the Roaring Lions in the first half, with Matt Johnson scoring eight points and Josh Ellsworth putting in four. Johnson finished the game with 12 points, while leading scorer Tony Rose drained seven of his 24 points in the opening half.

However, Penn State-Fayette couldn't contain Applewhite, who tallied 13 of his points in the half. Hardin and Cole also turned in productive numbers, while Culen sank a pair of 3-pointers as Potomac State grabbed a 42-25 lead.

The second half was more of the same, as Hardin opened play with a slam dunk and the Catamounts continued to coast. Hardin added three treys to his game, while Culen and Syrian Moore also scored from long range.

Rose posted 17 points in the half for the Roaring Lions, and Rick McLay came alive to match that tally, scoring 19 on the night. But with Applewhite enjoying a 15-point half and both Cole and Neilon Harvey tossing in their share of points, Penn State-Fayette fell even further behind.

Still, Vince Ryan said, his team didn't quit, particularly late in the game.

"Our kids didn't give up," he said. "They hustled the last 12 minutes."

Penn State-Fayette will travel to Penn State-New Kensington on Wednesday.

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