Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (2-2) were stymied by the stout defensive pressure of the Huskies of Bloomsburg University (1-0) on Friday night, leading to an 87-47 defeat at the hands of the NCAA Division II squad.
Hazleton was held to just 31.9 percent shooting from the field while Bloomsburg dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Lions 49-26 and converted on the offensive end at a rate of over 50 percent to pull away from the Lions in the early stages of play and cruise to their first win of the season.
Bloomsburg scored on a pair of Nittany Lion turnovers in the early stages to help garner a quick 7-0 advantage over Hazleton in the opening minutes. A pair of buckets from sophomore Jacob Solano (Bethlehem, Pa.) cut into the Huskies lead, but a ten minute scoring drought for Hazleton allowed Bloomsburg to open up a commanding lead in the ballgame. Bloomsburg's Christian Mortellite knocked in four field goals including a pair of buckets from long range over that stretch to help expand the Husky lead to as many as 30 points with less than five minutes to play. Senior Dwayne Richardson (Richmond, Va.) knocked in a pair of three's to help the Lions finish the half on a 10-7 run but the Huskies carried a 48-19 advantage into the break.
The Huskies started the second half on an 18-2 run but Hazleton battled back in the ensuing minutes. A triple from sophomore Gregory DePaolis (Grafton, Ny.) sparked a 13-0 run by Hazleton over a four minute stretch midway through the final period but the first half deficit proved too much to overcome.
Bloomsburg was led by Christian Mortellilte who topped all scorers with 20 points including 4-9 buckets from long range. Karonn Davis added 14 points, four assists and two steals while Carnell McGirt added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Jacob Solano shot 7-13 from the field including two triples to lead Hazleton with 17 points and four assists. Dwayne Richardson knocked in three baskets from beyond the arc to finish the night in double figures with 14 points.
The Nittany Lions continue their early season non-conference schedule when they travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. on Tuesday, November 15 to take on King's College at 7:00 p.m. in the Scandlon Gymnasium.