HAZLETON, Pa. - Juniors Kyle Kelly (Manhattan, NY) and Jordan Singletary (Houston, Tx.) each finished with a double-double as Penn State Hazleton picked up their second straight win to start the season with a 89-71 win over Luzerne County Community College on Monday night.
Junior Jacob Solano (Bethlehem, Pa.) led all scorers with 26 points as Hazleton used a solid shooting night to exact some revenge on the Trail Blazers, who opened last season with a win over the Lions. Hazleton shot 47 percent on the night while holding their visitors to just under 37 percent, including 3-for-16 from behind the arc.
The Lions last started 2-0 in 2014-15 and look to pick up a third straight win to open the season on Tuesday night.
The first half saw six lead changes and two ties in the first seven minutes as the teams traded baskets early on. Tied 10-10, Hazleton used a 17-2 run over the next seven minutes to build a lead that would hold up throughout. Six Lions scored during the stretch, capped off by two lay-ups from Kelly, one from Singletary and two free throws from Solano.
After a quick 4-0 Luzerne run to halt the momentum, sophomore Gregory Depaolis (Grafton, NY) hit a jumper and Solano followed with a three to build the lead back to 16 with just under five minutes to play.
Much like the first seven minutes, the final five saw the teams trade baskets as Hazleton went into the half with a 43-26 advantage.
Kelly would once again lead the way to start the second half, adding two more lay-ups during a 9-0 spurt that gave Hazleton a commanding 52-26 lead.
Over a two minute stretch a quarter of the way through the half, Singletary added 10 points, including a three-pointer, to help the Lions extend their largest lead at 35.
Luzerne wouldn't go quietly, using a press to claw their way back into the game. Although the Trail Blazers would cut the lead to as little as 16, the final outcome was never in doubt despite Luzerne outscoring Hazleton 41-24 over the final 15 minutes of play.
Singletary, who was a double-double machine in his first two years in blue and white, recorded his first of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Kelly, a transfer, added the first double-double of his Hazleton career with 18 points and 10 boards.
Solano was back to his 2014-15 form after taking a season off, shooting 9-for-19 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Solano also added a game-high four assists.
Hazleton returns to the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium on Tuesday night when they host SUNY Delhi at 6:00 p.m. The Broncos topped the Lions last season, but Hazleton looks to improve to 3-0 in the non-conference season.