LANCASTER, Pa. – Heading into their game with Lancaster Bible on Wednesday night, Jan. 30, the Lions were desperate for a victory. In order to have any chance of repeating as North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) South Division champions, they needed to put an end to their recent two-game losing-streak.
Penn State Harrisburg kept its title hopes alive by topping the Chargers 75-63 to sweep the season series in front of a nice crowd at Bible's Horst Athletic Center. Sophomore Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, Pa. / East Pennsboro) was the team's high-point man while fellow sophomore Kevin Icker (Scranton, Pa. / Scranton Prep) added 12 off the bench.
The teams traded the lead back-and-forth in the early going before the Blue & White grabbed the upper hand and stretched the advantage to double-digits thanks to a pair of De Los Santos free throws that made it 34-24 with 3:57 left in the first half.
The Chargers battled back, however, and used a 9-2 run to climb back into it before the break. They kept the momentum rolling early in the second half when Nick Monroe's three-ball tied the game at 38 with 18:50 left to play.
From there, the Lions were efficient offensively and repeatedly turned away the home team on the defensive end.
A De Los Santos jumper capped an 11-2 run that made the score 49-40 and gave the visitors some much-needed breathing room at the 14:10 mark.
De Los Santos, sophomore Joey Farthing (Lancaster, Pa. / Hempfield), freshman Arick Sodini (Manalapan, N.J. / St. John Vianney) and Icker accounted for eight-straight points over a three minute period that stretched the Lions' lead to 59-43 with 10:07 remaining in regulation.
A layup by senior Thristan Lundy (Philadelphia, Pa. / Samuel Fels) with 3:03 left on the clock gave Penn State Harrisburg its largest lead of the game at 18 points. Lancaster Bible simply had no answer for the Lions in crunch time.
The Blue & White created 19 Charger turnovers and scored 15 points off of them while shooting just under 50 percent from the field. The Lions reversed their recent trend of struggling to get going inside by outscoring Lancaster Bible 32-30 in the paint.
De Los Santos was the game's leading scorer while senior captain Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, Pa. / Manheim Central) netted six and grabbed a team-best six rebounds for Harrisburg. In addition to his point-total, Icker swiped three steals and collected two boards.
Lundy and Farthing were the other Lions to reach the double-digit point-mark. Lundy scored 11 and pulled-in four rebounds while Farthing chipped-in with ten tallies.
The win improved Penn State Harrisburg to 9-11 overall and 6-3 in conference play. The Lions currently hold a share of second place in the South Division standings along with Penn State Abington. Both squads trail the division leaders from Penn State Berks by one game.
After three-straight road games, Harrisburg returns to the friendly confines of the Capital Union Building for a doubleheader weekend. The Lions host Cazenovia on Saturday, Feb. 2 and Morrisville State the next day in a rematch of last season's NEAC championship game.