Hazleton, Pa. - THe Nittany Lions were stymied on Saturday afternoon, falling in their final game of the fall season to Penn State Schuylkill by the score of 65-35. With several players out, and/or injured, the Lions were forced to compete with just five players, leaving little to no room for error against the talented Schuylkill roster.
Hazleton competed well in the first quarter, getting a pair of early baskets from sophomores Azaria Johnson (Richmond Hill, Ga.) and Cassandra Rodriguez (League City, Tx.) and a late triple from senior Natasha Feliciano (Cainovas, PR) brought the Lions to within one basket of Schuylkill with just two minutes remaining in the quarter. Schuylkill went on to get the final bucket of the quarter, giving them a 13-8 lead at the first intermission. But as the game progressed, Schuylkill continued to step up defensive game, leading to 11 Hazleton turnovers in the second quarter. Schuylkill used nearly all of them to erupt for 20 points in the quarter, giving them a healthy 18 point advantage at halftime.
Though Hazleton would compete well in the second half, the troubles stemming from the second quarter were more than enough to spoil their day. Johnson and Feliciano combined for 22 of Hazleton's 35 points on the day, with Johnson adding 14 rebounds for a double-double to lead Hazleton in scoring and rebounding. Hazleton finished the day shooting just over 22 percent from the field, compared to over 35 percent from the visiting team and a 24-10 margin in the turnover column spelled defeat for the Hazleton squad.
Next up: Hazleton will look to recuperate after a difficult finish to the semester. Four weeks off should go a long way towards Hazleton getting healthy and making a push for the postseason when play resumes in January. The Lions will return to action on Friday, January 13 when Hazleton makes their second trip out west to face Penn State Beaver.