HAZLETON, Pa. - Sophomore Royce Brathwaite (Pocono Summit, Pa.) dropped a career-high 30 points on Friday night, but it wasn't enough as Penn State Hazleton fell 84-82 in overtime to Penn State Greater Allegheny in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium.
A close contest throughout, the game saw 10 ties and 10 lead changes in 45 minutes of action, including the biggest tie at 74-74 at the end of regulation. Leading by three with seven seconds remaining, Greater Allegheny opted to foul junior Dwayne Richardson (Richmond, Va.) and send him to the line. The plan backfired as Richardson sank the first foul shot and intentionally missed the second.
Sophomore Jordan Singletary (Houston, Tx.) grabbed the rebound and his put back from the middle of the paint bounced off the back of the rim and straight down through the hoop to tie the game with 2.7 seconds remaining. A last ditch effort by GA was no good and Hazleton went to overtime for the second time in five games.
Greater Allegheny grabbed a three-point lead about midway through the overtime, extending it to as many as four before escaping with the two-point win.
The first eight minutes, much like the entire game, was a back and forth affair that saw ties at seven, nine and 12 apiece. Brathwaite hit a three to make it 15-12, but a 6-0 run by GA shifted the balance back to the visitors. After trading multiple baskets, GA used another 6-0 spurt to grab a 30-21 lead.
Brathwaite and Singletary led the charge for Hazleton over the final four minutes of the half as the Lions went into the break on a 10-4 run. The two scoring leaders each poured in five points in the final minutes of the first half to pull Hazleton within three, 36-33.
Brathwaite hit a three with 18:32 left to tie the score at 38-38, and then hit another to give the Lions their first lead since the first half, 41-40. GA bounced back with a 7-0 run, but senior Richard Hobbs' (Central Islip, NY) trifecta stopped the rally.
The teams traded baskets in a back-and-forth affair for the next 14 minutes, which set up Singletary's heroics at the end of regulation.
Hobbs hit a jumper to get Hazleton on the board first in overtime, but Curtis Newby answered with two baskets of his own to tie the score at both 76 and 78. A GA triple made it 81-78, but Nick Nowak hit two free throws with 1:21 remaining to bring Hazleton within one. A Hazleton foul, followed by two GA made free throws extended the deficit back to three, and a turnover and subsequent free throw made it a two possession game with 17 seconds remaining.
Richardson drove to the basket for a lay-up to make it 84-82. A quick foul put GA back on the line where they missed both free throws with eight seconds remaining. With one last possession, Hazleton sprinted up the floor but failed to get a shot off before the buzzer.
Brathwaite topped all scorers with his 30-point performance while Singletary added an impressive 23 rebounds to go with 18 points. Richardson and freshman Nick Nowak (Philadelphia, Pa.) each added nine points for Hazleton.
Singletary's big night on the glass helped Hazleton win the rebounding battle, 44-33.
Jeremy McMunn and Jashaun Fontanez each tallied 21 points for the visiting Lions while teammate Jumanne Butler-McDaniel added 12 off the bench.
Next Up: Hazleton closes out their season with a home game against Penn State Beaver on Saturday, Feb. 13th at 3:00 p.m. It will be the cap to both team's season as Beaver was eliminated from playoff contention on Friday night.