ANNVILLE, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg fell behind early in its contest against Lebanon Valley on Wednesday, Jan. 2 and despite making a late push, never caught up as the Lions dropped the road game to the Dutchmen 77-60.
Still, it proved to be an historic night as Harrisburg senior point guard Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, Pa. / Manheim Central) netted a team-high 16 tallies for the game on his way to becoming just the fourth player in school history to score 1,000 points during his career.
Unfortunately, the Lions had no answer for Danny Brooks' scoring prowess on the other side. The LVC forward recorded a double-double, pouring-in a game-high 32 points and adding ten rebounds.
Brooks netted the home team's first six points and ten of Lebanon Valley's first 12, giving his squad an early eight-point advantage less than five minutes into the game.
But a resilient Blue and White squad kept things from getting out of hand too quickly and a Gatchell layup at the 11:26 mark cut the deficit to 19-16.
LVC followed it up with a momentum-stopping 23-8 run to end the half. The Lions went stone cold from the field and following a Gatchell jumper with 3:54 remaining before the break, failed to score another point until the floor general etched himself into the Penn State Harrisburg record book from the charity stripe 3:34 later. The free throw gave Gatchell exactly 1,000 for his career.
Leading 42-24 to begin the second, Lebanon Valley pushed its advantage to a game-high 20 points when Brooks hit a jumper one minute into the half.
Harrisburg showed plenty of heart and slowly but surely starting to claw back into it. Trailing 52-32 with 14:22 remaining in the game, the Blue and White methodically chipped away at the home team's lead over the next eight minutes and finally cut the deficit to single digits when sophomore Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, Pa. / East Pennsboro) connected from beyond the arc at the 6:21 mark.
A pair of Gatchell foul shots on the Lions' next possession held the Dutchmen lead to nine but that's as close as they would get. Just as it did to end the first half, Penn State Harrisburg struggled to score and went over three minutes without a field goal down the stretch.
Freshman Arick Sodini (Manalapan, N.J. / St. John Vianney) played well before fouling-out, scoring 11 points and adding five rebounds and two blocks off the bench. De Los Santos also scored 11 and dished-out three assists. Thristan Lundy (Philadelphia, Pa. / Samuel Fels) and Kevin Icker (Scranton, Pa. / Scranton Prep) collected five boards apiece while Lundy netted seven points and Icker added four.
Although it came in a losing effort, the performance of the night belonged to Gatchell. The Manheim native joined Abe Hitz (Annville, Pa. / Annville Cleona), Kenton Alston (Harrisburg, Pa. / Steel-High) and Steve Jones (Harrisburg, Pa. / Harrisburg) in Penn State Harrisburg's 1,000 point club; an even more impressive feat considering he played with both Alston and Jones the past three years.
The defeat dropped the Blue and White to 5-8 on the year and it came in the team's last non-conference matchup of the season. After four-straight road games, the Lions return to the friendly confines of the Capital Union Building (CUB) for their next outing against North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) foe SUNYIT on Saturday, Jan. 5.