Lehman, Pa. - The Nittany Lions fell to 6-5 in the PSUAC on Saturday, dropping their third straight conference game in a 72-63 defeat at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. Hazleton led by as many as 15 points in the first half but mounting foul totals and a lack of success on the glass allowed Wilkes-Barre to take command in the final half.
Despite missing several players due to injury, Hazleton was able to stymie the home team's offense to the tune of 28 first half points and carry a five point advantage into the second stanza. Wilkes-Barre's size advantage proved to be too much for the Nittany Lions in the second half, doubling up Hazleton in the rebound column 40-20 and as the game progressed, foul trouble mounted for Hazleton resulting in three players being disqualified with five fouls and three others finishing the game with four fouls. That translated into 33 free throw attempts for Wilkes-Barre who converted 22 free throws compared to just nine for the Lions and contributed greatly to Wilkes-Barre's second half rally. Hazleton was unable to close the gap late however still managed to hold Wilkes-Barre to their second lowest scoring total of the season.
Wilkes-Barre had four players reach double-figures by the game's end, including Jedidiah Ashton, Anthony Picott, Kevin Major and Kaii Gilliam, all of whom tallied 14 points to tie for the team lead. Freshman Aiden Wiktor (Danville, Pa.) led the Nittany Lions in defeat, totaling 14 points on the day while junior Aaron Kellmer added 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals with freshman Donovan Cumberbatch (Brooklyn, Ny.) adding 11 points respectively.
Next up: After a pair of close losses in the PSUAC Eastern Division, Hazleton will look to reverse course and get back in the win column on Tuesday night when the Nittany Lions host Penn State York for an 8:00 p.m. matchup in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium.