Hazleton, Pa. - The struggles continued for the Nittany Lions on Saturday as Hazleton looked to stop their recent streak of losses following the winter break. Hazleton kept within reach for the first 15 minutes of the ball game on Saturday but the Wilkes-Barre squad poured on the offense in the final 25 minutes of play, pulling away from Hazleton to the tune of an 86-39 win for the visitors.
The Lions fell behind 11-2 early in the contest but Hazleton responded from beyond the arc, getting triples from sophomores Colin Johnson (Raleigh, Nc.) and Shea Morgan (Pine Grove, Pa.) along with field goals by freshman Kyle Artis (Allentown, Pa.) and sophomore Jahdon Jerome (Cambria Heights, Ny.) to get within one point of Wilkes-Barre at 14-13 with 13 minutes to play in the half. But Hazleton's momentum would prove to be short lived as Wilkes-Barre bounced back from Hazleton's 12-3 run with a 10-0 run over the next several minutes of play. Sophomore Donovan Cumberbatch provided a quick bucket off the bench to keep Hazleton within double figures of the lead with eight minutes remaining in the half but from that point on, offense was hard to come by for the Nittany Lions. Wilkes-Barre finished out the period on a 20-5 run to carry a healthy 44-20 advantage at halftime. Hopes for a comeback were dashed early in the second half with the visitors scoring the first eight points of the period and Wilkes-Barre's lead grew to as many as 47 points late by the end of play.
Offense was tough to come by against the talented Wilkes-Barre squad leading to no Hazleton players in double-figures for the game. Cumberbatch topped the Lions with eight points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes off the Hazleton bench with Kyle Artis adding eight points and three steals in the loss.
Next up: Hazleton will look to find a spark and create some offense in the coming games as they look to get past their recent streak of losses. The Lions will face Penn State York on Tuesday, January 24 with the tip-off set for 8:00 p.m. in York, Pa.