Published Date Written by Tom Klemick
For much of the season, it’s seemed like Penn State Harrisburg has been one bounce of the ball, one fortunate break, one key run away from picking up crucial victories.
Instead, the Lions have ended up on the wrong end of those situations more times than they would have liked this year. The Lions’ matchup against Southern Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 8 was no different.
After falling behind by as many as 18 points, the Blue & White made it a one possession game late in regulation. Unfortunately, the Lions failed to get a decisive defensive stop when it mattered most and ultimately fell to the Knights, 74-67 in Middletown.
Will Doyle continued his recent string of stellar outings for Penn State Harrisburg (7-14), dropping a game-high 16 points on Southern Virginia (5-13). He also dished out a game-high five assists. Sophomore Jared Deibler, a Middletown Area High School graduate, added 12 points and a team-high six rebounds off the bench. Teammate Rayshaun Anderson-Brown was also strong, posting 11 points and five boards.
The Lions were strong out of the gate, jumping out to a 12-5 lead when Joey Farthing converted a layup at the 14:42 mark.
The Knights regrouped and kept things close during the game’s opening 10 minutes. Southern Virginia’s Wesley Evans connected from beyond the 3-point arc with 7:06 remaining in the first half to tie the score, 20-20.
From there, Southern Virginia ended the half on a 12-4 run and took a 32-24 advantage into the break.
After both teams struggled to get going offensively to begin the second half, Penn State Harrisburg scored 6 unanswered points to cut the deficit to 32-30 on a layup by Winton Lyle with 15:22 left to play.
But just as quickly as the Blue & White climbed back into the game, Southern Virginia increased its lead thanks to a 12-0 run over the next two minutes.
Trailing 52-34 with about 8:00 left to play, the Lions made one last push.
Penn State Harrisburg traded buckets with the Knights before getting stops on the defensive end that allowed the Lions to cut into Southern Virginia’s lead. The Lions put together an 18-8 run over a stretch of 4:30 to bring them within 4 points, 62-58 with 2:06 left in the game.
Unfortunately, that’s as close as the Lions would get.
Doyle and Anderson-Brown did their best to keep the Lions in it, but every time the Blue & White made a big shot, Southern Virginia had an answer.
The two teams shot nearly identically from the field (43.5 percent to 42.1 percent), but Southern Virginia held the edge in shooting from distance, knocking down nine 3-balls compared to just three by the Blue & White.
The Lions also struggled from the foul line, shooting just 58.8 percent.
Frostburg St. 65
Behind a career-high 22 points from freshman Logan Stovall, Penn State Harrisburg upended Capital Athletic Conference foe Frostburg State on Thursday, Feb. 6 in Frostburg, Md., ending the Lions’ six-game losing streak.
Three other Penn State Harrisburg players reached the double-digit scoring mark: Doyle netted 14, dished out a game-high five assists and pulled in a team-best five rebounds; Kenny Stone dropped 15 on the Bobcats; and freshman Marquese Daniels added 13 points.
The Lions fell behind 9-2 in the early going before putting together a 7-2 run that got them back into contention.
After Frostburg (2-19, 1-12 in the conference) jumped back out in front 20-13, the Blue & White again fought back, cutting the deficit to 20-17 thanks to Doyle’s trey at the 7:09 mark.
A Stone jump shot pulled Penn State Harrisburg (4-8 in the conference) to within 1 point, and the Lions grabbed their first lead of the game, 23-22, when Stovall converted a layup with 4:26 left in the first half.
Both squads traded the advantage over the next several minutes until Stovall knocked down a shot from beyond the arc to put Penn State Harrisburg out in front 35-32 heading into halftime.
Doyle connected for another triple just seconds after the break to increase the Lions’ lead to 38-32, but the Bobcats battled back over the next 4:00, with a pair of Torrell Goodman free throws drawing Frostburg to within 1 point, 43-42 with 15:17 left to play.
Over the next few minutes, however, the Blue & White steadily began to put distance between themselves and Frostburg State.
Deibler converted two free throws to put Penn State Harrisburg ahead 50-44 at the 12:24 mark and Doyle flushed another 3-ball to push the Lions’ advantage to 53-44 with 11:41 remaining.
Free throws by Stone and Lyle extended Penn State Harrisburg’s lead to 61-51 with 7:13 left to play, and Stone’s layup at the 6:03 mark kept the Blue & White advantage in the double-digits.
Frostburg cut the deficit to just 5 points when Nick Smoot connected from downtown with 2:19 remaining. That’s as close as the Bobcats would get the rest of the way.
Frostburg was forced to foul and Daniels and Stovall converted their free throws down the stretch to keep the Bobcats at bay.
The game’s most telling statistic came in the form of reserve play. Penn State Harrisburg got 52 points from its bench compared to just 10 by he Bobcats’ backups.
The Lions also shot a stout 58.1 percent from the field compared to just 38.8 percent for Frostburg.
The Blue & White shot 55.6 percent from beyond the arc. Frostburg managed just 26.7 percent shooting from distance.