MILLERSVILLE, Pa. – The Lions knew the challenge facing them when they first saw a road game against Millersville on the 2012-13 schedule. A NCAA Division II program, the Marauders would be one of the best teams the Blue and White ever faced. That proved true on Tuesday night, Nov. 20 when Penn State Harrisburg fell to Millersville 70-49.
Despite the strong competition and a pro-Marauder crowd, the Lions jumped out to an early lead. Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, Pa. / Manheim Central) drained the game's first bucket and Will Doyle (Franklin, Va. / Tidewater Academy) knocked down a three-pointer to put Harrisburg up 5-2 four minutes into the contest.
An 11-0 Millersville run ensued and the home team looked to be on the brink of running away with the game before it ever got going.
The Lions had other ideas. Trailing 23-10 with 7:46 left in the first half, the Blue and White began to chip away at the deficit.
Gatchell banged a three-ball. Kevin Icker (Scranton, Pa. / Scranton Prep) converted three-straight shots in the paint and Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, Pa. / East Pennsboro) laid one in to make it 26-21 at the 4:13 mark.
The Marauders however, flexed their muscle in the form of an 11-2 run that ended the half and gave Millersville a comfortable 37-23 lead heading into the break.
The home team was strong out of the second half break as well, scoring the period's first five points.
Back-to-back layups by Icker and Gatchell cut the deficit to 42-27 with 17:33 remaining in the contest. That was as close as Penn State Harrisburg would get.
Millersville shot an impressive 44.8 percent from the field while the Lions could only muster a 28.6 percentage. The Marauders also got 28 points from their bench. The Blue and White bench accounted for just eight of the squad's points on the night.
Doyle scored a game-high 18 points and collected six rebounds. Icker netted ten and also grabbed six boards. Gatchell added seven tallies, five rebounds and four assists. Julius Brown (McComb, Miss. / McComb) nabbed six rebounds in addition to swiping two steals.
The loss drops Penn State Harrisburg to 1-2 on the year but proves once again that this team is no pushover. Just as Franklin & Marshall can attest to, the Lions brought it when they stepped on the floor and hung with one of the best programs in the mid-state into the second half. It made no difference how the teams matched up on paper.
Penn State Harrisburg gets a bit of a break for Thanksgiving and won't play again until next week. The Lions head to Selinsgrove for a matchup with Susquehanna on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Harrisburg split a pair of games with the Crusaders last season.