Hazleton, Pa. - Penn State Hazleton took on King's College Thursday night in game three of the Lions' four-game homestand to start the 2018-19 season. After a bruising first half, the Nittany Lions erupted for 40 second half points to take down the Monarchs by the score of 73-60.
For the second straight game, junior Andy Kwaitskowski (Gaithersburg, MD) sparked the Lions offense with quality minutes in reserve, putting up 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. Sophomore Aaron Kellmer (Hazleton, Pa.) added 15 points who combined with Kwaitkowski to score eight of Hazleton's nine triples on the evening. Sophomore Shay Nelson (Blakeslee, Pa.) totaled 17 points in the game, notching 15 of his points in the final period. Together, the trio of players combined for 30 second half points over an eleven minute stretch, propelling the Lions to victory.
Senior Nick Nowak (Philadelphia, Pa.) tossed in 12 points and a team high eight rebounds to round out Hazleton players in double-figures while junior Robbie Hopkins (Mountain Top, Pa.) delivered nine assists and five steals in the win.
Intense defense led to a first half riddled with turnovers and fouls but neither squad was able to gain a distinct advantage. All that would change in the second period as the Lions came out of the halftime break and took advantage of the Monarch miscues to build a substantial lead. The first nine minutes of action proved pivotal in the game as Hazleton scored ten points off turnovers and went 11-for-16 from the field to build a 25 point advantage. The Lions would lead by as many as 27 and shoot 62.5 percent from the field to pull off the upset. As Hazleton began to run out the clock, King's rallied late with a 16-2 run in the final five minutes of action, but Hazleton's cushion was too much to overcome and the Lions captured their second non-conference win of the season.
Next up: After three games in four days, the Lions get a short break over the weekend before resuming play next week. Hazleton will cap the homestand with a visit from Wilkes University to the Dr. Thomas M. Cacesse Gymnasium on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m.