FREDERICK, Md. – Penn State Harrisburg topped Mt. Aloysius 84-72 in Hood College's Rotary Holiday Classic consolation game on Sunday, Dec. 30 and ended the team's three-game losing skid. Sophomore Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, Pa. / East Pennsboro) led the way with 20 points and was named to the all-tournament team for his efforts.
As most of the contests have been so far this season, this game was close out of the chute. The Lions and Mounties battled back and forth and the lead changed hands four times in the first seven minutes.
The Blue and White gave itself some breathing room when seniors Thristan Lundy (Philadelphia, Pa. / Samuel Fels) and Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, Pa. / Manheim Central) made buckets on back-to-back possessions to push Harrisburg's advantage to 25-18 with 7:26 left in the first half.
Mt. Aloysius responded offensively and went on a 17-3 run that put the Mounties back on top 35-28 at the 1:44 mark.
But the Lions were resilient and answered back before the break. Penn State Harrisburg scored the last nine points of the half, capped by Joey Farthing's (Lancaster, Pa. / Hempfield) layup just before time expired.
Harrisburg continued its methodical scoring early in the second half but every time the Lions pushed the lead to six or seven points, the Mounties clawed back into it.
A De Los Santos layup at the 13:34 mark put the Blue and White up 55-46 but Mt. Aloysius refused to go away and a Thomas Tanner layup less than two minutes later cut the deficit to 56-52.
Leading 58-54, the Lions went on a crucial 13-4 run over a four minute stretch that culminated in a jump shot by freshman Arick Sodini (Manalapan, N.J. / St. John Vianney) that put his squad up 71-58 with 6:57 left on the clock.
The Mounties cut the deficit to seven on two separate occasions but it was too little too late. De Los Santos and Lundy converted free throws down the stretch, clinching Harrisburg's fifth victory of the season.
Four Penn State Harrisburg starters reached the double-digit scoring-mark. In addition to De Los Santos, Lundy poured-in 19 and junior Will Doyle (Franklin, Va. / Tidewater Academy) netted 14 while posting game-highs of eight rebounds and six assists. Sodini added ten points and seven boards while Farthing scored eight off the bench.
The Blue and White knocked-down seven three-pointers on the afternoon as compared to just two in the squad's loss to St. Vincent the evening prior.
Harrisburg also created opportunities by forcing 25 Mt. Aloysius turnovers. The starting five swiped a combined 11 steals; a good sign for the defending NCAA Division III steals per game champions.
The much needed non-conference victory got the Lions back on the winning-track, improving the team's overall record to 5-7 on the year. Penn State Harrisburg takes on Lebanon Valley on Wednesday night, Jan. 2 before returning home to the Capital Union Building (CUB) for a North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) showdown with SUNYIT three days later.