HAZLETON, Pa. - Sophomore Anthony Kaiser (Brooklyn, NY) hit four three-pointers in the first half and Penn State Hazleton held onto a 63-60 wire-to-wire win over Lehigh Carbon Community College on Thursday night in the Dr. Thomas Caccese Gymnasium.
Kaiser finished with a team-best 14 points off the bench, including 12 points in the first half as Hazleton built a 17-point halftime lead. The Lions (4-7, 2-2 PSUAC) withstood a late run from the Cougars to snap their two-game losing streak.
Despite turning the ball over 19 times, Hazleton limited the damage as Lehigh Carbon converted those into only 18 points. Meanwhile, sophomore Jordan Singletary (Houston, Tx.) grabbed 16 rebounds to help the Lions hold a 51-40 rebounding advantage.
Singletary scored eight of Hazleton's first 10 points as the Lions built a 12-2 lead after five minutes of action. Kaiser sandwiched two baskets from the Cougars with three's on either side, extending the lead to 20-8 with just under nine to play in the half.
Lehigh Carbon got as close as seven in the half, as a 7-2 run over the next minute made it 22-15. Kaiser would hit two more three's, and junior Dwayne Richardson (Richmond, Va.) added two of his own in the waning minutes of the half, including a buzzer beater that made it 37-20 at the break.
Richardson hit another three, this time just 11 seconds into the second half, to give Hazleton their biggest lead of the night, a full 20-point spread. Lehigh Carbon began to chip away at the lead the rest of the half, pulling within 12 with 14 minutes left to play.
After a basket from sophomore Matt Manbeck (Girardville, Pa.) that made it 48-34, the Cougars pulled within 11 and stayed within 12 points for most of the next four minutes. Two straight buckets from Roody Charles cut the Lehigh Carbon deficit to six points with 6:28 to play.
Each team missed several free throws down the stretch, as both struggled from the charity stripe. Hazleton mustered 44 percent (8-for-18), while Lehigh Carbon hit 19 of their 39 trips to the line. It made a difference in the end, as opportunities for Hazleton to put the game away rimmed out. Trailing 63-60, the Cougars had one last possession with 24 seconds remaining. Hazleton pressured the ball and forced a bad shot from the top of the key, and Singletary grabbed his own rebound after missing a free throw to run out the clock.
Kaiser led the way for Hazleton with 14 points, including 4-for-5 from three in the first half. Singletary recorded another double-double, his sixth of the year, after scoring 12 and grabbing 16 rebounds, including the game-clincher. Richardson also finished with 12 points to round out the scorers in double figures for the home team, while dishing out five assists.
Charles paced all scorers with 22 points for Lehigh Carbon.
Next Up: Hazleton returns to action on Friday night, Dec. 11th when they host Penn State Mont Alto in their semester finale. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.