Hazleton, Pa. - Marywood's (3-0) Shane Letthand and Cameron Dean combined for 25 second half points to complete the comeback and escape the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium with a 65-63 victory over the Nittany Lions (1-5) on Saturday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions stole the show early, shooting nearly 82 percent from long distance in the first half as six players poured in buckets from beyond the arc in the opening period. Down 7-3 in the early stages of play, the Lions went on a 13-0 run against the Pacers to pull ahead and control the first half. Nick Nowak (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Royce Brathwaite (Pocono Summit, Pa.) combined for 19 points including five of six from long range to shock the Pacers and carry a 13 point advantage into the break.
Hazleton continued their fine play to open the final period, extending their halftime lead to as many as 18 points, but with 14:33 remaining, Letthand, Dean and the Pacers began to chip away as the foul totals began to rise for the Nittany Lions. Both squads traded baskets until a Dimitiri Thompson layup with 8:30 to play sparked a 15-0 offensive run in favor of the Pacers. During the run, Letthand and Dean took over to post 11 combined points as Marywood claimed their first lead since the opening minutes of play, disqualifying Hazleton's leading scorer, Royce Brathwaite in the process. Nowak would tie the game with a pair of free throws, but Letthand retaliated for the Pacers, burying a triple at the opposite end. A last gasp effort by the Lions failed to fall after their outstanding shooting effort on the day, and the Pacers escaped with the 65-63 victory.
Letthand led the field for Marywood scoring 21 points in the game to go along with nine rebounds, a pair of steals and three blocked shots. Cameron Dean added 13 points and nine rebounds (four offensive) in the winning effort.
Royce Brathwaite totaled 16 points including four baskets from beyond the arc and five assists to lead the Lions along with Nick Nowak's 16 point, three steal effort. Sophomore forward Jordan Singletary (Houston, Tx.) posted a solid nine point, 11 rebound performance and freshman Brian Miller (Barnesville, Pa.) added eight points and nine rebounds in a closely contested outcome.
Next up: The Nittany Lions head into the fall break with a 1-5 record against a slew of NCAA Division 2 and 3 opponents with Penn State University Athletic Conference play on the horizon. Hazleton matches up with Penn State Schuylkill in their first action after the break at Martz Hall in Pottsville, Pa. on December 1st at 8:00 p.m.