Nanticoke, Pa. - The Nittany Lions shot just 32.7 percent from the field on Thursday night in the season opener at Luzerne County Community College in a losing effort. Heavily contested on each possession, the Lions were unable to keep pace with Maurice Richardson and the Trailblazers, suffering a double digit loss by a score of 66-56.
1st Half: Sophomore guard Royce Brathwaite (Pocono Summit, Pa.) led the Lions to a 12-7 advantage in the early stages of play with a pair of layups and a three point jumpshot, but the lead was short lived for Nittany Lions. Maurice Richardson streaked for three consecutive buckets in the paint to regain the lead for Luzerne and over the next five minutes of play, the Trailblazers went on a 14-5 run secure a ten point advantage for the home team. The Trailblazers went on to hold Hazleton scoreless in the final four minutes of the opening half, taking a 39-22 lead in the break.
2nd Half: Hazleton and Luzerne traded buckets in the opening minutes of the second period before a 10-0 run by the Trailblazers midway through the final period stretched their lead out to a 23 point margin. The Nittany Lions made a late game run to tighten the score, but failed to cut the lead to single digits, falling by a score of 66-56.
Top Performers: Maurice Richards led all scorers in the contest, netting 23 points and 11 rebounds and five steals to pace the Trailblazers. Lynn Hamilton added 12 points going six for six at the charity stripe while adding three assists in the game with Jaleel Parlin adding eight points in the winning effort.
Three Nittany Lions reached double digits in the scoring collumn including a double-double by sophomore forward Jordan Singletary (Houston, Tx.) who pitched in 12 points and 16 rebounds. Brathwaite scored a team-high 13 points with freshman Nick Nowak (Philadelphia, Pa.) adding 11 points going two for five from long distance in the loss.
Next up: Hazleton looks to break into the win collumn when they head north to for a non-conference matchup with SUNY Delhi on Saturday, November 7th at 3:00 p.m.