MONT ALTO Pa. – The Penn State Mont Alto men's basketball team battled hard on Monday afternoon but was defeated 105-90 on the road in a non-conference tilt against Salem University inside the T. Edward Davis Gymnasium.
Mont Alto (3-1) dropped its first game of the 2018-19 season and got a game-high 32 points from senior guard Jalen Smith (Ranson, W. Va. / Jefferson) who shot 13-of-24 from the floor. Smith poured in 23 of his points within the first half and knocked down three triples overall.
Senior Kevin Holston (Fort Washington, Md. / Friendly) also finished in double figures for the Nittany Lions with 14 points as he also added five rebounds and four steals. Sophomore Quntyn Flemister (Harrisburg, Pa. / Harrisburg) notched 18 points in 17 minutes off the bench. Marcus Roper (Charles Town, W. Va. / Jefferson) contributed nine points and freshman Devante Nelson (Middletown, N.Y. / East Stroudsburg) finished with eight points.
The Tigers were the beneficiaries of Malik Toppin and Shawn Christian who combined for 54 of the teams 105 points on the afternoon. Toppin notched a double-double with 28 points and 11 boards, while Christian totaled 26 points, which included eight three-pointers. They held a 43-24 advantage in rebounds over Mont Alto.
Salem got off to the fast start with Shawn Christian connecting on multiple three-pointers and a Chris Shield layup with 14:16 in the first half put them up by 10 points at 21-11. Mont Alto would score in spurts within the half as it battled back from an 18-point deficit at 51-33 to go into the halftime break down 10 again, 59-49.
The Tigers built their largest lead of the game within the second half (22 points) at the 12:58 mark, but after the under 12-minute media timeout Mont Alto's defense locked in and forced multiple turnovers as they clawed back to make it 79-90 after a Flemister trey with 3:41 remaining in the game. Salem slowed the pace and held on for the 105-90 win.
Mont Alto plays in its first conference game of the season after the Thanksgiving holiday on Tuesday, November 27 in road game against Penn State New Kensington at 8 p.m.