Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions wrapped up a four game stretch in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium on Tuesday with a visit from Wilkes University. Hazleton trailed by just eight points at the half but failed to close the gap in the final period, falling to a 2-2 overall record with an 80-60 loss to the Colonels.
The Lions shot just 31.3 percent from the field in the first half but managed to keep in contention but that would change after the break as Hazleton suffered from a 4-of-11 effort from the charity stripe and several disqualifications that allowed the Colonels to build a substantial second half advantage. Ultimately Wilkes would end the game out-shooting the Lions with a 47.6 rating from the floor and 22 points off Hazleton turnovers to pull off the victory.
Stricken with foul trouble for much of the game, sophomore Shay Nelson (Blakeslee, Pa.) racked up his first double-double of the year with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Andy Kwaitkowski (Gaithersburg, Md.) led the squad in scoring for the third straight night, totaling 15 points going 2-for-5 from long range.
Trailing 36-28 at halftime, Hazleton would cut the lead to just five points moments into the second half but the Lions would fail to close the gap any further. Wilkes would spend the next six minutes and change surging past Hazleton with an 11-3 run led by Mark Mullins who chipped in six points over the stretch. Mullins was just heating up as the junior guard netted 19 of his 23 points in the second half to lead all scorers in the game.
With just under 7:30 play Hazleton trailed the Colonels by 13 and over the next several minutes the Lions would see Nelson, sophomore Brandon Mohammed (Albrightsville, Pa.) and senior Nick Nowak (Philadelphia, Pa.) all head to the bench with five fouls. The Colonels would take full advantage of their absence, pulling ahead by as many as 23 points and claiming the win 80-60.
Next up: The Nittany Lions wrap up non-conference play with a .500 record and are geared up for Penn State University Athletic Conference play. Hazleton will resume their season following the Thanksgiving break on November 27 with a trip to the defending PSUAC champions, Penn State Brandywine.