DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. - The Penn State Harrisburg men's basketball program travelled to Daytona Beach, Florida for the Land of Magic Classic, hosted by NAIA powerhouse Embry-Riddle University. The Lions fell to the hosting Eagles, 51-86, in their first game of the tournament. Junior Kenton Alston (Harrisburg, PA/Steel High) had a team high 23 points and 9 rebounds in Tuesday's loss.
The first five minutes was a back and forth battle as the Lions answered the Eagles strong offensive effort. The Eagles took advantage of a string of Nittany Lion turnovers and missed shots to go on a 15-0 run, grabbing a swift 22-10 lead. At the half, the Eagles led by 22.
The Lions shot 30.0% from the field and struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the first half. Alston scored 17 of Penn State Harrisburg's 25 first half points.
Embry-Riddle's 22 point halftime lead proved to be a deficit that the Lions couldn't repair. The Eagles outscored the Lions 39-26 in the second half and were paced by Brett Rawlings' 15 points. He finished the game with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Nittany Lion Freshman Tyler Hall (Carlisle, PA/Cedar Cliff) contributed 10 points in just 12 minutes of play, shooting 4-7 from the floor. Penn State Harrisburg fell to 3-6 while Embry-Riddle, the fifth ranked team in the NAIA, improved to 10-1.
The Nittany Lions stepped on the court less than 24 hours later to face the Babson College Beavers. Day two of the tournament also proved to be a challenge for the Lions as they were defeated, 64-86, by the Beavers.
The teams exchanged points to keep the game close early in the first half. Babson grabbed a small six point lead but with 4:42 left before the break, David Reisinger (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin) hit a three pointer to knock Babson's lead to 1. Babson then went on a quick 20-7 run to go up 45-33 at the break.
The Lions found themselves in another difficult hole to dig out of. Early in the second half, the Lions cut the Beavers lead to ten but were never able to secure the lead, falling to 3-7 on the season. Alston led Penn State Harrisburg with 15 points and seven rebounds and Reisinger added 13 points and 5 rebounds.
Russell Braithwaite provided a dominating performance for the Beavers with 27 points, shooting 11-16 from the floor. Matt Zoia also contributed 20 points for Babson.
The Lions will travel on January 4, 2011 to face NEAC opponent Penn State Abington at 5:30PM.