McKeesport, Pa. - Senior Andy Kwiatkowski (Gaithersburg, Md.) reached the career 1,000 point milestone during the first half of Saturday's 71-68 win at Penn State Greater Allegheny. The senior didn't stop there as he proceeded to pour in a season high 31 points including a pair of clutch free throws at the end of regulation that helped ice the game and earn Hazleton their second straight win and move to 4-2 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference.
Greater Allegheny opened up a nine point cushion early in the game and it took a combined five triples from Kwiatkowski and freshman Paul Feisel (Slocum, Pa.) to keep pace with the home squad midway through half. Kwiatkowski's third triple of the game came with 8:56 remaining in the half. In fitting fashion, the senior knocked in a long range shot to eclipse the 1,000 point mark. The milestone three gave Hazleton a 23-22 but Allegheny responded with two three-point makes of their own but the home team would go scoreless over the final seven minutes of the half. The drought allowed Hazleton on a 8-0 run to end the period thanks to triples by sophomore Connor Soo (Lamar, Pa.) and Feisel, giving Hazleton a 31-28 lead at the midway point.
As they had done all game, both teams would have their runs in the second half and this one was destined to come down to the wire. Hazleton got some separation midway through the half thanks to the continued efforts of Kwiatkowski and freshman Aiden Wiktor (Danville, Pa.) who scored all 10 of his points during a four minute stretch in the middle of the second half. Wiktor's final make gave the Lions a 63-57 advantage with just over seven minutes to play and Hazleton began to work the clock. A pair of clutch lay ups from freshmen Jahdon Jerome (Brooklyn, Ny.) and Nick Ruggeri (Mountain Top, Pa.) kept the Lions in front but Greater Allegheny hurried to score on three straight possessions to make it a one possession game with less than a minute to play. Hazleton had been out-rebounding by a wide margin to this point but a clutch effort on the glass by freshman Donovan Cumberbatch (Brooklyn, Ny.) with 40 seconds remaining forced the home team to send Hazleton to the free throw line. Paul Feisel knocked in a pair at the stripe to give the Lions a 69-65 advatantage but once again, Greater Allegheny answered with a triple to inch closer to the Lions. Allegheny would foul on the ensuing possession but Kwiatkowski was cool under pressure, knocking down two free throws and forcing Allegheny to connect on another three point shot. But with just four seconds to play, the home team's last ditch effort came up short, allowing Hazleton to escape with the win.
Three players reached double-digits in the scoring column for Greater Allegheny, topped by Jeremiah Miller who totaled a team high 13 points and eight rebounds with Bryce Phillips going for a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. Kwiatkowski followed a stellar first half with another great effort down the stretch, finishing the game 10-for-19 with five triples to total 31 points and going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Paul Feisel pitched in a 5-for-12 effort from beyond the arc to finish with 17 points and five rebounds while Wiktor totaled 10 points and four rebounds to round out the game's top performers.
Next up: The Lions are off until Friday, December 10 when the Lions host Penn State New Kensington and look to finish off the fall semester on a positive run in conference play.