Susquehanna Defense Keys Win over PSU Hazleton in King's Monarch Classic Consolation Game

Robbie Hopkins drives the paint Friday night at the Monarch Classic.
Robbie Hopkins drives the paint Friday night at the Monarch Classic.

Using a tight, high pressure defense which resulted in 31 points off of turnovers, Susquehanna University's men's basketball rolled to an 89-57 win over PSU Hazleton in the consolation game of the King's College Monarch Classic Basketball Tournament.  For the second night in a row the PSU Hazleton Nittany Lions fell victim to the outstanding play of an opponent's player scoring their 1,000th career point. Susquehanna senior Ryan Traub scored his 1000th point midway through the first period en route to a 19-point, 8 rebound night for the River Hawks (In last night's game, Kings senior Connor Callejas garnered his 1000th career points).

Traub led four Susquehanna players into double-figures scoring with his 19 points. Bryce Butler added 14 points while Seth Callahan and Jacob Walsh scored 12 points each. Hazleton was led by sophomore guard Robbie Hopkins' 18 points and 4 assists while teammate Royce Brathwaite added another 12 points.  Shay Nelson led the Lions in rebounds with 8 boards.

The Lions had a better field goal percentage than the River Hawks outshooting them 48% to 46% and both teams hit 38% of their 3-point shots; but the River Hawks owned the paint pulling down 43 rebounds to Hazleton's 23 and scoring 38 points to the Lions' 24 from inside the key. Another key factor in the game was the River Hawks bench outscoring the Lions bench 29 to 8.

Susquehanna used an 11-1 run in the middle of the first half to take a 28-16 lead. After Hazleton stopped the run temporally with a 3-pointer, the River Hawks scored the next 10 consecutive points.  The River Hawks took a 45-24 lead into the halftime intermission. Susquehanna started the second half with a pair of inside baskets to extend their lead. Hazleton answered and cut the lead to 19 with a pair of free throws but the River Hawks came right back with a 3-pointer that sparked a 7-0 run.  At one point in the second half, Susquehanna regained control, ran the lead to as many as 32 points and cruised to the victory.

With the win, Susquehanna goes to 4-4 on the season while the Lions drop to 3-7.  PSU Hazleton will return to action 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.