UPJ men's basketball comes back to beat California 84-76

    (MGN Online)

    John Paul Kromka collected career-highs of 28 points and 19 rebounds to help Pitt-Johnstown battle back from a 14-point first half deficit to earn an 84-76 PSAC victory at California (PA), Saturday afternoon. The Mountain Cats snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 14-11 overall and 9-9 in the PSAC.

    Kromka broke his previous single-game highs of 27 points and 12 rebounds.

    California (PA) got off to a hot start and built a 24-10 lead nine minutes into the game on a pair of Collin McAdams free-throws.

    Pitt-Johnstown responded to outscore the Vulcans, 28-14, over the final 11:23 to knot it at the half. Josh Wise's conventional 3-point play cut the deficit in half at the midway point, before Kromka's layup and free-throw and a Caiden Landis bucket narrowed it to 36-34 with 2:48 left.

    The Mountain Cats then made it a three-point game on three more of Kromka's 18 first half points, and Romano Sebastiani connected on a free-throw with :09 remaining to tie it at 38 at the break.

    The Mountain Cats held the momentum and outscored California (PA) 17-2 to begin the second half and extend the run to 45-16. Four straight points from Landis and another bucket from Kromka gave Pitt-Johnstown a 50-40 lead at 16:13, and Fred Mulbah's 3-pointer pushed the lead out to 55-40 at 15:17.

    The Vulcans pulled to within eight at 64-56 with 10:25 to play on two straight Zyan Collins' 3-pointers, but Pitt-Johnstown rebuilt the lead to 16 on Sebastiani's 3-pointer and an Olando's King Jr. bucket with 4:28 remaining.

    The Mountain cats never let California (PA) get closer than 10 the rest of the way.

    Kromka finished with 28 points, 19 rebounds, and five assists to pace three Mountain Cat double-figure scorers. Landis had 16 points and seven rebounds, while Mulbah had 16 points and six assists. Pitt-Johnstown also got seven points and seven rebounds from King, Jr., seven points from Sebastiani, and six points and six rebounds from Wise.

    With his six points, Wise now stands in 25th-place on the Mountain Cat All-Time Scoring List with 1,056 career points, 20 shy of Ian Vescovi (2011-15) for 24th-place on the list.

    After a slow start shooting, Pitt-Johnstown, which dominated the glass, 54-33, ended the day shooting 47.8% (33-69) from the floor and 5-17 from behind the 3-point line. California (PA) shot 44.4% (28-63) from the field, 12-33 from 3-point range, and 8-19 from the free-throw line. The Mountain Cats were 13-28 from the charity stripe.

    Collins scored 19 points, McAdams had 17 points, and Jordan Gessner and Brent Pegram each scored 15 points for the Vulcans, who fell to 7-16 overall and 5-12 in the PSAC.

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