Penn State Hazleton took an early and long bus ride across the Commonwealth Tuesday for a 6 PM tip off against Penn State Fayette, playing a game that had been rescheduled from earlier in the year due to bad weather. The night before, the Local Lions found themselve the benefactors of a hot shooting night and a runaway win over Penn State Worthington Scranton. Perhaps it was the long ride - or the margin of victory the night before, but what ever the reason, they found themselves in a totally different situation than the night before. But even though it was a different game, the end result was the same with Hazleton winning the game, 57-53 over Fayette. In victory, Hazleton improves to 6-10 on the year and evens up it's conference mark at 5-5. Fayette falls to 7-12 overall and 4-7 in the conference.
Hazleton was lead by their big man inside, freshman Brandon Mohammed. Mohammed scored 16 points and hauled down 14 rebounds and was matched on the outside by teammate Nick Nowak, who also pumped in 16 points. Jonathan Fogarty also poured in 11 points for Hazleton. For Fayette, Atrayo Matthews score 16 points and Marvin Sidon added another 10 points. Iman Young helped the cause with 9 points but hauled in 13 rebounds.
Unsure of the cause, both teams came out with cold shooting hands. Fortunately for Hazleton, Fayette would suffer as well and and both team shot a tepid 29% from the floor for the half. Mohammed and Matthews canceled each other out as their 9 points each kept the game even. Fayette's Marvin Sidon was the difference in the half as he hit for seven points and a Tavian Mozie jumper at the :02 mark of the half meant the difference with Fayette going into the locker room with a two point lead, 24-22.
The second half would start and continue just as the first half. After enjoying leads of as much as 40 points the night before, Fayette would have none of it and both teams swapped blows like prizefighters. Every time Hazleton would score and run a lead to six to eight points, Fayette would counter and come right back to keep the game even. By the 1:42 mark left in the game, Hazleton enjoyed a seven point lead, but would be held scoreless the rest of the way. The Nittany Lion defense bent but did not break and held on for the 57-53 victory.
Statistically, the game was extremely even with Hazleton holding the edge in field goals, 35% (19-54) to Fayette's 28% (19-67). Both teams shot under 25% from beyond the arc and over 55% from the charity stripe. The game was so even that the teams matched each others turnovers (11 each) and second chance points (13 points each). The telltale stat of the night was Hazleton's dominance in the paint. Even though Fayette pulled down five more rebounds than Hazleton (45-40), Hazleton made the most of its' rebounds on the offensive end of the court and outscored Fayette in Points in the Paint, 30-12.
Both teams head right back into coference play with Hazleton traveling to Penn State Brandywine Friday night and Fayette battling Penn State Du Bois today.