Penn State Hazleton came out of the locker room to start the second half holding on to a 13 point lead and exploded for 53 second half points while holding Penn State Worthington Scranton to 28 points and ran away with the contest 87-49 in the Dr. Thomas M. Cacesse Gymnasium in Hazleton last night. Every player for Hazleton made the books last night as Head Coach Jeff Rush had the opportunity to empty the bench. Last night's game started out as a close match, with both teams trading baskets back and forth throughout the half. But the second half was a totally different game as Hazleton blistered the hoop and owned the glass leading to the blowout win over Worthington Scranton.
Hazleton Freshman Aaron Kellmer had the hot hand early and often leading all scorers with 23 points; hitting 6-11 from behind the arc and shooting 8-14 from the floor. Jonathan Fogarty followed suit with 15 points and Ryan Wolfe added another 10 points. Robbie Hopkins cleaned the glass pulling down 12 boards and Shay Nelson pulled down 9 more boards for the Nittany Lions. Charlie Peters and Jeff Panetti both hit for 13 points to lead the Worthington Scranton attack with Peters hitting four 3-point shots.
At the opening tip off, Scranton took an early lead at the 19:44 mark on a Justin Aariola jumper. Hazleton answered with the Kellmer's first 3-point bomb. He followed it up with another at the 17:37 mark to put Hazleton up 6-2. Baskets by Aariola and Jeff Panetti would knot the score at six apiece and that would be the last time score would be that close. Hazleton went on a run but could stretch their lead to no more than 10 points at any time during the half. Scranton scrapped and battled to keep the score close going into the locker room down only 13 points.
Brandon Mohammed opened the second half with a rebound and follow to open the scoring for Hazleton. Kellmer would hit another 3-point shot and the Lions began what would be the biggest run of the evening. Combining a tight defense, hot shooting, and total control of the paint, Hazleton would hold Scranton to a single point over the next seven minutes of the game. By the 8:48 mark of the second half, Hazleton pushed their lead to a whopping 43 points, and Coach Rush began to empty his bench. Both teams reserved took up the battle and scrapped as well, with Scranton's reserves scoring 27 points to Hazleton's 22. At the end, very member of the Hazleton squad scored to get their name in the book as Raul Geronimo made a layup at the buzzer making the final score Hazleton 87 and Worthington Scranton 49.
Hazleton outshot Scranton 42% (32-76) to 30% (20-67) on the night from the floor as well as hitting 36% (10-28) of their 3-point attempts to Scranton's 23% (7-30). Rebounds overall were similar with Hazleton edging out Scranton, 51-43, and Hazleton made the most of those rebounds scoring 38 points in the paint and scoring 24 second chance points. A bigger differential was the turnovers and points off of turnovers. Hazleton turned the ball over 11 times to Scranton's 18 however, Hazleton scored 20 points off of those turnovers while Scranton could not garner a single point from the turnovers.
WIth the win, Hazleton improves to 5-10 overall and 4-5 in the conference while Worthington Scranton falls to 4-14 overalland 0-1 in the conference. Hazleton gets right back into the fray again tonight as they travel to Penn State Fayette to make up a game postponed from earlier this year due to weather. Tip off is scheduled for 6:00 PM.