Hazleton, Pa. - With the post-season fast approaching, the Nittany Lions picked up a huge win on Tuesday night, topping Penn State York 68-41 and moving into sole possession of third place in the PSUAC Eastern Division standings. Hazleton posted a dominant effort on defense, holding York to just 27 percent shooting on the night and scored 29 points off of 20 York turnovers to earn a convincing win.
York held the early edge over Hazleton but the Lions offense could not be denied in the first half. Hazleton trailed York 8-4 after four minutes of the first quarter until an old fashioned three point play by sophomore Rocky Curry (Darby, Pa.) sparked a 13-2 run by the Lions to finish out the quarter. Hazleton maintained that momentum for the rest of the half, notching 22 second quarter points including three triples in the period by sophomore Cassandra Rodriguez (League City, Tx.) that helped the Lions build a 39-23 advantage at halftime.
York came out in the third period and notched the first four points of the half to get within 11 of Hazleton, but the Lions would go on to hold York to 0-10 shooting for the remainder of the period. Hazleton used that cold streak to expand their lead to 26 points by the end of the third, leaving Hazleton in firm control heading into the final stanza. The Lions were content to trade scores in the fourth as Hazleton cruised to the finish line, topping York by 27 in the end.
On a night where the Lions shot over 40 percent from the field, four players landed themselves in double-figures in the scoring column. Rodiguez led the squad with 18 points, all of which came from beyond the arc. Sophomores Ashley James (Weatherly, Pa.) and Azaria Johnson (Richmond Hill, Ga.) along with senior Natasha Feliciano (Cainovas, PR) all chipped in with 11 points respectively. James and Johnson added five rebounds each while Feliciano totaled six rebounds, two assists and three steals. Rocky Curry led the squad in all of the non-shooting categories with 11 rebounds, eight assists and four steals in the win.
Next up: Hazleton heads out for their final road game of the regular season on Saturday, February 18 for a 1:00 p.m. matchup at Penn State Schuylkill. The Lions need just one win to secure a spot in the PSUAC playoffs with two games remaining on the schedule.