Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions dropped to 2-7 on the season and 2-4 in the PSUAC following Saturday's home court loss to Penn State Shenango. Hazleton kept in contention for well over 30 minutes on Saturday afternoon, fading late as Shenango tacked on 19 points in the final 7:30 of action, snatching victory from Hazleton by the score of 75-63.
Trailing 8-5 early on, Hazleton freshman Jose David Pena (Hazleton, Pa.) and sophomore Edwin Ferreras (Passaic, Nj.) combined for 11 points, part of a 13-0 Hazleton ran that gave the Lions an early ten point cushion. The duo combined for 16 first half points along with six assists in the half as Hazleton overcame a 10 rebound deficit on the stat sheet. Hazleton nursed the early advantage for nearly 12 minutes of play but Shenango chipped away despite a 1-for-12 effort from beyond the arc, using their size advantage in the paint to nab a 36-33 lead at halftime.
Ferreras briefly gave back the lead to Hazleton, draining a three from the wing at the 18 minute mark in the second half and a pair of triples by senior Robbie Hopkins (Mountain Top, Pa.) would keep the Lions within reach. Hazleton combined for five triples in the half but Shenago's Tyler James finally got going from beyond the arc, knocking in three from long range to counter the Hazleton effort. The Lions remained within three points with just over seven minutes to play in the game until foul trouble caught up with the Nittany Lions. Shenango would sink 10 shots from the charity stripe and forced five Hazleton turnovers down the stretch to finish the game on top and win by double figures.
Four Nittany Lions hit double figures in the scoring column led by Hopkins and Pena tallying 14 each. Hopkins added a team high seven assists while Pena filled up the box score with six rebounds and six dimes respectively. Ferreras and junior Brett Kosciolek (Tamaqua, Pa.) pitched in with 13 points a piece but ultimately Shenango's combination of Donovan Verges, Tyler James and Larry Ransom Jr. were too much to handle on Saturday. Verges notched 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead the field while Ransom added a double-double with 14 points and twelve rebounds. James finished 7-for-15 from the field to total 18 points with three triples as Shenango's lone threat from beyond the arc.
Next up: The Lions close out a three game home stretch on Tuesday, December 10 when Hazleton hosts Penn State Lehigh Valley to close out the fall semester. Tip off slated for 8:00 p.m. in the Dr. Thomas M. Caccese Gymnasium.