Hazleton splits weekend conference matchups

Jerome Warrick drives the baseline.
Jerome Warrick drives the baseline.

Hazleton, Pa. - The Nittany Lions moved to 2-1 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference following a pair of bouts against opponents from the Western Division this weekend. Hazleton topped Penn State DuBois on Firday by the score of 70-67 but fell on Saturday to Penn State Greater Allegheny by the score of 101-81. 

Friday, November 18 - Penn State Hazleton 70, Penn State DuBois 67 - Final OT

Friday's matchup was about as close as it gets. A hot start by Hazleton sophomore Colin Johnson (Raleigh, Nc.) kept Hazleton in the ballgame but neither squad was able to make much headway in the first 20 minutes. Johnson finished the period with four triples, helping Hazleton to their largest lead of the night with just over five minutes to play in the period until a late run by DuBois gave them the lead down the stretch. A triple by sophomore Shea Morgan (Pine Grove, Pa.) just before the horn gave the Lions a 36-35 halftime lead. 

The lead would seesaw for nearly ten minutes of the second half before DuBois went on a 14-2 run which nearly buried the Hazleton hopefuls with only five minutes and change remaining. Just when it seemed like this one could get ugly for the Lions, sophomore Jahdon Jerome (Cambria Heights, Ny.) took over the game. Jerome broke the drought and proceeded to score 12 straight points for the Nittany Lions, tying the game at 66-66 and forcing overtime. Both teams struggled in the overtime period, but a pair of free throws by Johnson with under two minutes to play, broke the stalemate. Freshman Kyle Artis (Allentown, Pa.) added the only field goal in the overtime session to give Hazleton a four point lead with 30 seconds to play as Hazleton hung on for the win. 

Johnson was terrific in this one, finishing with a game high 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including six makes from beyond the arc. Jerome's late rally gave the sophomore a 16 point outing with Artis finishing the game with 10 points in the win. 

Saturday, November 19 - Penn State Hazleton 81, Penn State Greater Allegheny 101 - Final

Following the gritty overtime victory the night prior, Hazleton jumped ahead early on Saturday thanks to another hot start from Colin Johnson. Johnson scored 12 points in the first six minutes of the game to give Hazleton a 17-11 lead but things would slowly go in favor of Greater Allegheny for the remainder of the half as Hazleton faced foul trouble and put the visitors in the bonus for well over half of the period. Greater Allegheny used that advantage to tack on 20-of-25 free throw attempts in the half, taking a 55-37 advantage at the break. That deficit proved to be too much to overcome in the second half. Greater Allegheny went up by as many as 30 points in the second half, leading to the lopsided finish.

Johnson scored just four points in the final 34 minutes of the game but still remained Hazleton's top scorer on Saturday with 16 points. Sophomore Shea Morgan and junior Jerome Warrick (Alexandria, Va.) added 14 points each in the loss, with sophomore Donovan Cumberbatch pitching in 10 and six rebounds respectively. 

Next up: Hazleton is off next week for the Thanksgiving holiday break. Basketball will resume on Tuesday, November 29 when the Lions host Penn State Lehigh Valley at 8:00 p.m.