Despite a solid 19-point effort from Royce Brathwaite and three other Lions scoring double digit points, PSU Hazleton fell to Kings College in the opening round of the FNCB Bank/Monarch Classic Friday night in the hosts' gym in Wilkes-Barre. With the loss, Lions slipped to 3-6 while King's improved to 4-4 on the year. The Lions will now play Susquehanna University (who fell to Lynchburg 73-65 in the tourney opener) at 1:00 Saturday while King's will now play Lynchburg College of Virginia in the championship game Saturday at 3:00 PM.
Connor Callejas led the Monarch's with 26 points while Tony Maloney added a career-high 16 points. Callejas, who entered the game needing six points to reach the 1,000-point plateau for his collegiate career, reached the mark with 15:01 on the clock when he drained a three-pointer for his point of the half.
The Monarchs took a 47-41 lead at the half-time break and then came out hot in the second half. King's extended the lead to 56-41 with 17:28 remaining, but the Lions used a 13-2 run to close to within 58-54 with 14:55 to play after a three-point play from Brathwaite.
But the Monarchs regrouped and answered with a 19-5 run of their own to build a 79-59 lead with 9:59 to play. The Lions would come no closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
After the PSU Hazleton - Susquehanna consolation game at 1:00 PM, the Lions will take the long holiday break and regroup in the new year. Their next game will be a home game on Monday, January 8th against the University of Maine-Fort Kent to be played in Dr. Thomas M Caccese Gymnasium with tip-off scheduled for 8:00 PM.