Hazleton hangs on for crucial win at Brandywine

Robbie Hopkins battles a defender on the wing.
Robbie Hopkins battles a defender on the wing.

Media, Pa. - Junior Andy Kwiatkowski (Gaithersburg, Md.) matched a season high on Saturday with 34 points as Hazleton improved to 7-6 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference with their 77-72 win at Penn State Brandywine. 

Hazleton lost the turnover battle in this one, but their efficiency from the field and the free throw line kept the Lions out in front for the final 22 minutes of the game. Hazleton turned the corner late in the first half on Kwiatkowski's third triple of the period with 4:09 remaining. The shot was part of a 12-4 run to end the half and put the Lions up for good after trailing by as many as eight points early on. 

Hazleton kept that momentum going when play resumed with back to back points in the paint by junior Brandon Mohammed (Albrightsville, Pa.) and a triple from senior Robbie Hopkins (Mountain Top, Pa.) to keep the Lions out in front. Kwiatkowski would get in on the action midway through the action, scoring 11 of Hazleton's 13 points over a five minute stretch of play that saw the Lions extend their cushion to 17 points. Hazleton led 63-46 with less than eight minutes to play, but Brandywine refused to go quietly. A 14-2 run over the next three minutes would slash the Lion's lead to just five points. Brandywine would cut the lead to as few as four points with a pair of Ketquan Gatewood free throws but the Lions would be clutch from the charity stripe as the clock wound down, notching 8-of-10 from the line to seal up the win. 

Kwiatkowski led all scorers in the game with 34 points on 11-of-24 shooting from the field, adding eight free throws in the win. Mohammed built up an impressive line in the victory, notching a double-double with 17 points, 12 boards, four assists and three blocks respectively. Rounding out Hazleton's top efforts on the day was Robbie Hopkins, totaling 10 points, eight rebounds and a game high seven assists to aid the cause. 

Next up: The Lions face PSUAC West opponent, Penn State Mont Alto on Tuesday, February 4 at 8:00 p.m. and look to keep pace in the standings for a post-season selection.