Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions fell to 3-17 on the season following Tuesday night's 76-62 loss to Penn State York in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium. Hazleton put up a valiant effort but York's advantage on the glass and in the paint spelled defeat for the embattled Lions. York converted 19-of-22 attempts at the free throw line in the win, dominating the glass to the tune of a 46-27 upper hand in the rebounding column.
Hazleton trailed early but kept this one close for much of the first half. The Lions went on a 6-0 run midway through the period, utilizing their speed and defensive prowess to convert three lay ups off York turnovers and putting the visitors on a brief upset alert. But with Hazleton tailing 15-14 and 12 minutes to play in the half, the Lions offense stalled. York used the next four minutes of regulation to rebuild their cushion back to double-figures and ended the half on an 8-2 run to carry a 39-23 lead into the break.
York used the opening minutes of the second half to build a 25 point lead, effectively putting Hazleton out of reach. Despite trailing, Hazleton continued to battle and eventually won the half 39-37. Junior Joey Lombardo (Kingston, Pa.) sank four triples in the second half combined with eight points from sophomore Donovan Cumberbatch (Springfield Gardens, Ny.) to help Hazleton close the gap but York's competence from the charity stripe made up the difference and kept the Lions from pulling to within striking distance. Hazleton ended the game on a 9-2 run, closing the gap to 14 point by the final horn.
Lombardo and Cumberbatch's second half efforts landed them as the top performers for Hazleton on Tuesday night. All 14 of Lombardo's points came in the second half with the junior finishing 5-for-7 from the field including the four three-point makes. Cumberbatch turned in another outstanding all-around effort, totaling 14 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals to lead Hazleton in each of those categories.
Next up: Hazleton finishes up their road schedule this weekend when the Lions travel to Penn State Schuylkill for a 3:00 p.m. contest.