Lehman, PA - Penn State Hazleton regained momentum on the road Friday evening, pulling out a victory against Penn State University Athletic Conference rival Penn State Wilkes-Barre. The Lions (6-5) fought off a late rally by their opponent to earn a 64-59 win and a share of second place in the PSUAC.
Fans were treated to a tightly contested first half with both teams trading blows to begin the game. Rising star Jacob Solano (Bethlehem, PA) poured in 19 first half points for Hazleton, complimented by a six point, six rebound effort from Dwayne Vines (Tobyhanna, PA). Wilkes-Barre countered with two players going perfect from the field. Robert Heft posted 11 points with three buckets from long distance, while teammate Emmanuel Young provided seven points from the bench on 3 of 3 shooting. Despite the stalemate, Hazleton maintained a slight 3 point advantage at the break.
Accompanied by Vines and Solano, Jordan Singletary (Houston, TX) spurred a second half charge by the Hazleton squad. Pulling away from Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton found themselves leading by as many as twelve points deep into the second half. With four minutes remaining in the game, Wilkes-Barre challenged Hazleton for control, reeling off a 12 to 2 run into the last minute of the contest. Junior forward Dwayne Vines, playing in his final game as a Penn State Hazleton athlete, ended the scoring drought, pushing the Lions lead back to three. A rare miss by Robert Heft led to two made free throws by Chris Woodring (Hazleton, PA), sealing the victory for Penn State Hazleton.
Penn State Hazleton was led by a trio of clutch performers. Jacob Solano drove offensive efforts with 27 points on 12 of 20 shooting and 3 steals. Dwayne Vines contributed 11 points, 7 rebounds and an additional 3 steals. Jordan Singletary rounded out the Hazleton attack, supplying the Lions with 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre saw three players reach double figures. Emmanuel Young led the way with 19 points on 8 of 13 shooting. Teamates Robert Heft and Austin Walker finished the game with 11 and 10 point outings respectively.
Hazleton heads into the winter break on a high note, finishing the first half of the season at 6-5 with a 4-2 record in the Penn State University Athletic Conference. The Lions will resume play on January 17 when they host Penn State Lehigh Valley.