Lions fade late at Wilkes-Barre, falling 82-61

Edwin Ferreras drives the paint.
Edwin Ferreras drives the paint.

Lehman, Pa. - The Nittany Lions dropped their third straight game in Penn State University Athletic Conference competition on Tuesday night, falling at Penn State Wilkes-Barre by the score of 82-61.

Even with the Lions facing numerous matchup issues due to injuries, the Nittany Lions kept this one close. Three quick baskets by junior Brett Kosciolek (Tamaqua, Pa.) helped Hazleton jump out to an early lead and following a jumper and two free throws by sophomore Edwin Ferreras (Passaic, Nj.), Hazleton led 12-7 through six minutes of action. Both teams would trade baskets over the next eight minutes of play and the Lions led by as many as six points late in the action led by an 18 point, six rebound effort by freshman Jose David Pena (Hazleton, Pa.) but with 4:25 to play in the first period, Wilkes-Barre surged ahead with a 13-6 run, taking a 39-35 advantage at halftime. 

Hazleton kept it a single digit deficit for much of the second half but eventually, Wilkes-Barre's sizeable advantage on the glass and command of the paint wore down the Hazleton hopefuls. Senior Robbie Hopkins (Mountain Top, Pa.) knocked in a pair of free throws with less than eight minutes remaining that cut Wilkes-Barre's lead to 63-59 but the Lions would manage just two points for the remainder of the game, seeing the home squad finish on an impressive 21-2 run to claim a runaway victory late in action. 

Pena did all he could to keep the Lions in contention, racking up a game high 27 points on 11-of-26 shooting from the field while Kosciolek added 11 points in the losing effort. 

Next up: The Lions look to rebound in the standings with the upcoming three-game home stand beginning with Friday December 6 when Penn State New Kensington visits the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium for an 8:00 p.m. tip-off.