Hazleton, Pa. - The top two teams in the east met on Saturday afternoon in the Dr. Thomas M. Cacesse Gymnasium, with Hazleton looking to deal Penn State Wilkes-Barre their first conference loss of the season. The Lions took a 15-9 lead midway through the first half until a revived Wilkes-Barre defense took over the game. The visitor would hold Hazleton to just 11 points in the final 12 minutes of the half to build a double figure lead and never look back. Wilkes-Barre would go up by as many as 23 in the second half, topping Hazleton in the end by the score of 73-53.
Juniors Andy Kwaitkowski (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Robbie Hopkins (Mountain Top, Pa.) would end the day as the only two Nittany Lions in double figures. Hopkins totaled 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting, including three makes from beyond the arc. Kwaitkowski also notched three triples in the game, totaling a game-high 23 points and scoring at a 60 percent clip. Sophomore Brandon Mohammed (Albrightsville, Pa.) added nine points and nine rebounds respectively to round out Hazleton's top efforts on the day.
After the hot start Hazleton cooled off and Wilkes-Barre made the Lions work for every point, resulting in a season low scoring total. Hazleton would register just 19 field goals in the game, connecting on just 31.7 percent from the floor. In contrast, Wilkes-Barre had their way both inside and out of the paint. Penetrating guard play created open looks at the rim and kick out attempts from beyond the arc by Kevin Silverberg would cashed in on seven triples in the contest and thwarting any comeback efforts by the Lions in the second half.
Next up: The Lions now sit at 5-2 in the Penn State University Athletic Conferece and into a three game road stretch after Saturday's defeat. Hazleton will next hit the court on Friday, January 18 when the squad travels to Penn State Fayette for an 8:00 p.m. contest out west.