Hazleton, Pa. - Monday's season opener at Hazleton treated fans to a thrilling game between Penn State Hazleton and Cheyney University. In a back and forth game that saw 12 lead changes, Hazleton won a slight edge from the charity stripe and on the glass but Cheyney's three point shooting would win the day. The wolves connected on 10-of-23 attempts from beyond the arc including a dagger by Jordan Henry in the final minute of play that sealed Hazleton's fate by the score of 62-59.
Three Nittany Lions topped double-figures on Monday led by sophomore Brandon Mohammed (Albrightsville, Pa.) doing the heavy lifting for Hazleton in the paint. Mohammed served up a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds adding three blocked shots while going 7-for-9 from the free throw line. Senior Nick Nowak (Philadelphia, Pa.) and sophomore Shay Nelson (Blakeslee, Pa.) added 13 points each with Nowak connecting on three triples in the loss.
Hazleton shot 50 percent from the field in the first half to carry a 34-41 advantage at the midway point, but baskets wouldn't come easy for the Lions down the stretch. A 1-for-12 shooting effort by Hazleton from beyond the arc allowed the Wolves to pull ahead by as many as nine points in the second half.
With just over 12 minutes to play, Mohammed struck for nine straight points of his own, paving the way for a Nowak three-pointer that gave Hazleton a 57-54 lead over the Wolves but Hazleton would go cold for the final four minutes of the game.
Trailing by three points, Cheyney's Jordan Henry stopped the 12-0 Hazleton run with his fourth triple of the night followed by a jumper by Cliff St. Juste to put the Wolves back on top 59-57. Mohammed would work his way to the line and tie the game with a pair of free throws but once again Henry had the answer from long range, connecting from the corner with 38 seconds to put the Wolves up for good. A last gasp effort by Lions came up empty as Cheyney snuck away with the 62-59 win.
Next up: Hazleton begins the year with back to back games on the hardwood. The Lions will resume non-conference play on Tuesday, November 7 with a visit from Luzerne County Community College.