Hazleton, Pa. - Freshman forward Gregory DePaolis (Grafton, Ny.) picked up his first double-double of the season and the Nittany Lions (5-15, 3-10 PSUAC) held last year's Penn State University Athletic Conference champions, Penn State York (8-10, 8-3 PSUAC), under their season scoring average, but the defending champs pulled away from the Lions late in the second half to earn a 70-64 win over Penn State Hazleton. The Nittany Lions out-shot Penn State York from beyond the arc, but York's presence in the paint and slight edge at the free throw line paved the way to victory.
Facing a 12 point deficit midway through the first half, Hazleton poured on the offense, reeling off a 15-2 run to carry a 36-33 lead into the second half. The Nittany Lions lead by as many as five points after the break before Penn State York's physical play began to wear down the Hazleton defense, as the visitors opened up a double digit lead with five minutes to play. Once again the Lions came from behind, shrinking the York lead to just four points with just over a minute to play, but York's ball movement beat the Lions press for a pair of late lay-ins to thwart the comeback bid.
Penn State York opened up a 12 point lead in the first seven minutes of play, until the Nittany Lion offense closed the gap. Spurred on by a pair of DePaolis layups and his first triple of the half, Hazleton harassed the York offense and connected on the opposite end. Over a five minute stretch of play, Hazleton went on a 15-2 run to take their first lead of the game. Sophomore Royce Brathwaite (Pocono Summit, Pa.) hit three straight jumpers for the Nittany Lions to keep pace with the visitors, then with score tied at 33-33, DePaolis capped the half with long range shot to give Hazleton a three point lead at the break.
Four consecutive points by York's Trent Thomas to begin the second half gave the lead back to the visitors when play resumed. A powerful slam from sophomore Jordan Singletary (Houston, Tx.) set off a 6-0 run Hazleton, building a five point lead early in the early stages of the second half. Hazleton would continue to lead by a slim margin until a Trent Thomas jumper put York back on top with 12:28 to play.
Over the next five minutes of action, York controlled the pace of play as the visitors ran the floor getting good looks in the paint from the like of Thomas and Damien Hamler. A 12-2 run by the visitors gave them their largest lead of the second half, an 11 point margin with just over seven minutes remaining. But the Lions refused to quit. Subsequent triples from freshman Brian Miller (Pottsville, Pa.) and junior Dwayne Richardson Richmond, Va.), indluding three the hard way from Singletary, got the Lions back in contention at the five minute mark. A Richardson three-pointer cut York's lead to four points with 1:16 to play, but a pair of Richard Grant layups amidst the Nittany Lion pressure put the game out of reach in the final moments.
Trent Thomas led all scorers in tonight's contest, netting 23 points on eight of 18 shooting from the field and going five of seven from the free throw line. Richard Grant tallied a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while teammate Mike Coleman added 11 points in the victory.
Jordan Singletary scored 13 second half points to total 17 for the game, adding 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double this season. Greg DePaolis added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Dwayne Richardson totaled a season high 16 points on the night, sinking three baskets from long range and five of six from the charity stripe.
The Nittany Lions hit the floor on Tuesday February 9th at 8:00 p.m. to face local rival, Penn State Wilkes-Barre.