Lehman, Pa. - Following last weekend's cancelations, the Lions squared off with Penn State Wilkes-Barre for the second straight game on Tuesday night, this time on the home court of the Penn State University Athletic Conference's top ranked team. Wilkes-Barre held the Lions' offense in check in the first half leading to a sizeable 13 point advantage at the break and quickly go up 18 early in the second period. Hazleton clawed their way back into the game but the Lions had no answer for Wilkes-Barre's Khalil White who scorched Hazleton for 33 points en route to an 87-69 win for Wilkes-Barre.
Hazleton matched Wilkes-Barre in terms of percentages on the night, but the home team's sheer volume of opportunities and success converting turnovers into baskets would spell defeat for Hazleton. Wilkes-Barre converted 17 Hazleton miscues into 21 points on the evening allowing them to maintain a double-figure cushion for much of the game. That lead would come into question in the second half when a slam by freshman Scott Shamany (Hazleton, Pa.) sparked momentum for the Lions with just under 11 minutes to play. Hazleton would knock in three of their six total triples over the next four minutes, two from sophomore Brett Kosciolek (Tamaqua, Pa.) and one from junior Andy Kwaitkowski (Gaithersburg, Md.), cutting the deficit two just six points with seven minutes to play. But that's as close as the Lions would get as Wilkes-Barre responded with a 10-0 run over the next over the next four minutes to squash the rally and seal up the victory.
Andy Kwaitkowski led all scorers for Hazleton with 21 points on the night. The junior finished 7-for-12 on the night, adding four boards and four assists to set the pace for Hazleton. Two other Nittany Lions finished in double-figures including Kosciolek who ended the night with 12 points and six rebounds while sophomore Aaron Kellmer (Hazleton, Pa.) chipped in 11 points, going 6-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Next up: The Nittany Lions play host to Penn State Mont Alto on January 26 at 3:00 p.m. looking to improve on their 5-3 record in the PSUAC.