Lions fade after hot start at Brandywine

Rocky Curry dribbles on the perimeter.
Rocky Curry dribbles on the perimeter.

Media, Pa. - The Nittany Lions fell to a record of 5-5 in the PSUAC following Wednesday night's 74-59 defeat at Penn State Brandywine. Hazleton hung with Brandywine across the board in the stat column, but 24 Hazleton turnovers led to 30 additional points for home squad who ran away for the win in the fourth quarter. 

Hazleton started out hot from the field on Wednesday. The Lions shot well over 50 percent on their shooting attempts, with sophomore Rocky Curry (Darby, Pa.) pouring in four of six jumpers in the opening quarter as Hazleton pulled ahead for a three point advantage at the end of the first period. Unfortunately, the Lions were unable to maintain the potent offense for the remainder of the half. Brandywine pressured Hazleton into seven, second quarter turnovers and limited the Lions to just one field goal over the ten minute stretch while they proceeded to surge past Hazleton for a 30-23 cushion at the midway point. Hazleton and Brandywine went back and forth in the second half and despite trailing by as many as 14 points, the Lions continued to battle. An old fashioned three point play by senior Natasha Feliciano (Cainovas, PR) was followed by buckets from Curry and sophomore Azaria Johnson (Richmond Hill, Ga.) to get Hazleton within 10 points of the lead for the first time since early in the second half, but a 9-1 flurry of offense by Brandywine over the next two minutes of play left Hazleton trailing by 17 with just five minutes remaining. Brandywine continued to pour on the offense in the fourth, totaling 30 points in the period to close out Hazleton. 

It was a solid night for several Nittany Lions despite the loss. Rocky Curry finished with 17 points and six rebounds to lead Hazleton while Azaria Johnson racked up a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds to her credit. As a team, Hazleton shot just under 40 percent for the game despite the poor second quarter compared to 42 percent for Brandywine, but a 24-to-12 deficit in the turnover battle sealed the Nittany Lions fate on Wednesday. 

Next up: The Lions will look to bounce back and move back above .500 in the PSUAC when Hazleton resumes play on Saturday on their home court. Hazleton will face Penn State Wilkes-Barre on January 21 at 1:00 p.m. in the Dr. Thomas M. Cacesse Gymnasium.