Hazleton, Pa. - It was a hard-fought contest on Wednesday night although the Nittany Lions came up short in the second half, falling to Penn State Brandywine by the score of 70-62. Hazleton out-shot Brandywine by a slim margin for the evening but Brandywine earned a big advantage on the glass and edged Hazleton at the charity stripe by eight points, resulting in the loss for the Lions.
Hazleton registered just four points through 11 minutes of play in the first half. Fortunately for the Lions, their defense kept them in the ball game and their offense began to heat up late in the half. With nine minutes to play in the first half, Hazleton went on a 13-6 run capped by triples from sophomore Colin Johnson (Raleigh, NC) and junior Joey Lombardo (Kingston, Pa.) to get within one point of Brandywine at 18-17. Sophomore Jahdon Jerome (Cambria Heights, Ny.) scored six late points to knot the score at 29 each heading into to halftime as the Lions continued to build momentum in an effort to put an end to their recent losing streak.
Brandywine had other plans in mind and proceeded to score the first seven points of the second half. The visitors would go up by as many as 11 in the period but Hazleton clawed back into contention late in the game. With just under six minutes to go, Jahdon Jerome knocked in a triple followed by a lay in by freshman Kyle Artis (Allentown, Pa.) to cut the lead to just four points at 57-53 in favor of Brandywine. But that's as close as the Lions would get as Brandywine's Bryce Barrouk responded with back to back jumpers to extend the lead back to multiple possessions and Brandywine connected on 4-of-4 free throws in the final minute to seal Hazleton's fate on Wednesday.
A very solid performance by Hazleton on Wednesday but the Nittany Lions still fail to get the desired result. Artis led the charge offensively, notching 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, adding seven rebounds in the loss. Jahdon Jerome added 13 points off the bench with three steals while sophomore Donovan Cumberbatch pitched in an all-around effort, toting nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals respectively.
Next up: Hazleton heads back out on the road on Saturday, February 11 to face Penn State Wilkes-Barre in Lehman, Pa. for a 3:00 p.m. conference matchup.