YORK, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg traveled south on Friday, Dec. 14 to take on a very good Penn State York team. The contest remained close late into the second half but in the end, the Lions ultimately fell to the home team 84-72. Only Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, Pa. / Manheim Central) and Will Doyle (Franklin, Va. / Tidewater Academy) reached the double-digit scoring mark for Harrisburg.
Make no mistake about it; this year's version is not your father's Penn State York squad. York is 10-2 overall with the only two losses coming on the road by a combined three points. The win over Penn State Harrisburg was the team's ninth-straight.
The injury bug certainly did not help the visitors any as potential starters in junior Julius Brown (McComb, Miss. / McComb) and sophomore Kevin Icker (Scranton, Pa. / Scranton Prep) each played less than a half of basketball due to their setbacks.
Harrisburg grabbed its first lead of the night when Doyle converted a layup at the 15:58 mark of the first half. Another layup, this one by sophomore Joey Farthing (Lancaster, Pa. / Hempfield) with 9:06 left in the half, gave the Lions an 18-17 advantage.
They would never lead again.
From there, York went on a pivotal 15-2 run that despite their best efforts, the visitors were unable to overcome.
Harrisburg trailed 39-34 at the break but the home team quickly pushed its advantage back to nine points less than two minutes into the second half.
A pair of free throws by freshman Arick Sodini (Manalapan, N.J. / St. John Vianney) brought the Lions back to within five tallies but that's as close as they would come in the game's final 20 minutes.
With his team trailing by double-digits, Doyle knocked down two foul shots to cut the deficit to 62-53 with 12:39 remaining in the game.
Penn State York scored the next nine points and effectively put the contest out of reach.
A Gatchell jumper that cut the home team's lead to eight with 2:23 left on the clock was the capper on Harrisburg's last ditch attempt to claw back into the game. Unfortunately for the Blue and White, it proved too little too late.
Gatchell was the game's leading-scorer with 18. His offensive output brings his career total to 972 points. The senior point guard also added four assists and two steals.
Doyle took just nine shots, connecting on six of them to rack up 15 points on the night. The junior also corralled five rebounds.
Farthing and fellow sophomore Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, Pa. / East Pennsboro) netted eight points apiece with De Los Santos dishing-out four assists. Senior Thristan Lundy (Philadelphia, Pa. / Samuel Fels) grabbed a game-high six boards in addition to dropping eight on York.
The defeat is Penn State Harrisburg's second-straight and was not the way the Lions wanted head into the mid-semester break. The men are now 4-6 on the year and will not hit the hardwood again until Dec. 29 when the Blue and White takes part in Hood's two-day Holiday tournament.
The Lions will face St. Vincent, another strong non-conference opponent, in their first tourney matchup.