Hazleton, Pa. - Sophomore Jacob Solano (Bethlehem, Pa.) and junior Jordan Singletary (Houston, Tx.) were unstoppable Friday night in the team's 87-70 victory over Penn State DuBois (10-8, 6-5 PSUAC). The duo shot a combined 57 percent from the field, good for 48 points to halt the squad's three game losing skid in the Penn State University Athletic Conference.
Hazleton (7-11, 5-6 PSUAC) trailed by as many as eight points in the first half but caught fire midway through the period to claim the lead at halftime. The Nittany Lions continued to pour on the offense in the second period while holding their opponents to just 32.1 percent shooting in the final act, cruising to the double-digit win.
DuBois was led by Sam Roselli who notched 10 points and 11 rebounds on five of eight shooting. Dan Aucker and Bernard Raukhorst offered up solid efforts from the DuBois bench netting 10 points each respectively.
Solano topped all scorers with a 29 point effort in 31 minutes of court time. The PSUAC's third leading scorer connected on 13 of 22 attempts from the floor to pace the field in scoring, upping his average to 22 points per outing on the year.
Singletary was stymied by the DuBois defense at the rim, but contact sent the Hazleton big man to the free throw line all evening. The forward knocked in 11 of 14 attempts from the charity stripe to total 19 hard earned points on the night. Singletary added 15 rebounds and a pair of blocks in the win.
Junior Royce Brathwaite (Pocono Summit, Pa.) added 10 points for the Nittany Lions on three of seven shooting, including one bucket from long range.
DuBois set the tone, striking the game's first real blow midway through the first period of Friday night's contest. A 12-5 run beginning at the 13:20 mark left Hazleton trailing 24-16 with just over nine minutes to play in the half. Solano stopped the skid with a jumper, followed by a triple from senior Dwayne Richardson (Richmond, Va.) and free throws from Singletary to all but even the match.
Both squads would trade blows until the final two minutes of action when the Lions took over. Solano connected on a back to back makes to knot the score at 38 and Singletary gave Hazleton its first lead since the opening minute of play with a pair of free throws. With just 16 seconds remaining, Brathwaite extended the lead to 42-38, but a pair of late fouls would delay the halftime break. DuBois' Logan Pearce was fouled in the backcourt, knocking in a pair from the stripe and with no time remaining, Hazleton's Richardson was sent to the line, connecting on one of three attempts, giving Hazleton a 43-40 halftime advantage.
Solano and company dominated the first ten minutes of play in the second half. The sophomore guard scored 14 of his 16 second half points in just over ten minutes of action as Hazleton blew the game open.
Leading DuBois 57-49 at the 13 minute mark, a lay up from freshman Robbie Hopkins (Mt. Top, Pa.) sparked a 15-0 run by the Nittany Lions. Four different Lions would get in on the action over that stretch as Hazleton surged ahead to a 70-49 advantage. The Nittany Lions would maintain a near twenty point cushion down the stretch, firing on all cylanders to the finish line.
Hazleton outdid DuBois in nearly every statistical category in the final period. The Lions shot over fifty percent from the floor, out-rebounded their opponent 23-13, notched 11 assists to just five for Dubois and collected seven steals in the half.
A crucial set of games on the slate for next week as the Nittany Lions chase down a playoff spot in the upcoming PSUAC post season. Hazleton will travel to Worthington Scranton on Tuesday, January 31 before returning home to face Brandywine and Lehigh Valley over the weekend.