Lions’ Comeback Falls Short Against Hazleton

R.J. Dixon
R.J. Dixon

MEDIA, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine rallied from 17 points down with 7:46 to play to tie the game, but Penn State Hazleton scored nine-straight points during the final 2:08 to capture a 68-62 Penn State University Athletic Conference men's basketball victory over Brandywine during both teams' league opener on Tuesday night.

Neither team led by more than four points during the tightly-contested first half that featured five ties and three lead changes. Scott Shamany's layup with 32 seconds to go in the stanza sent Hazleton into the break with a 32-30 edge.

The Lions came out cold in the second half as Brandywine was limited to two points during the first 9:06 of the second period, falling behind 44-31. Hazleton upped its lead to 54-37 when Nick Nowak sank two free throws with 7:46 to go; however, Brandywine stormed back, tying the game just 5:08 later.

Bryce Barrouk (West Chester, Pa./Rustin) knocked down two triples and scored eight points overall during the Lions' 22-5 surge, while R.J. Dixon (Reading, Pa./Reading) netted the final eight points. First, Dixon buried a three ball from the corner to make the score 58-55. He followed with a layup to bring Brandywine within two and then tied the game on the Lions' next possession by sinking a pair of free throws with 2:38 to go.

Shay Nelson countered with a layup at the 2:08 mark, starting a run of nine-straight points for the visitors that would seal the game for Hazleton. After Dixon's free throws, Brandywine went scoreless until the final seconds when Dixon completed a three-point play to provide the final margin.

Dixon delivered 19 points, including 12 in the second half, in 23 minutes off the bench. He knocked down 7-of-11 shots and was 4-of-5 at the free throw line, while also grabbing seven boards. Barrouk collected 13 points, canning three triples, while Jacob Hunt (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) also contributed 13 points.

Dwayne Coleman (Philadelphia, Pa./Delaware Valley Charter) pulled in nine boards for the Lions, who held a 46-36 edge on the glass. Josh Smith (Glassboro, N.J./Glassboro) added eight boards, while Anthony Lattanzi (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) grabbed seven.

Brandywine shot 37 percent from the field and buried eight three-pointers, but was hurt by 23 turnovers. Hazleton sank 20 free throws, while Brandywine got to the line just 14 times, connecting on eight.

Brandywine (2-3, 0-1 PSUAC) is back in action Friday night at home against Penn State Mont Alto at 8:00 pm.