MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Trailing by 12 points at halftime, Penn State Harrisburg roared out of the break and outscored Lebanon Valley 45-24 in the second half of the teams' non-conference matchup on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 1. The Lions used that crucial outburst to stop their two-game skid and defeat the visiting Dutchmen 67-58. The Blue & White victory was the team's second vanquishing of LVC in three years.
Sophomore big man Jared Deibler (Middletown, Pa. / Middletown Area) was Penn State Harrisburg's leading-scorer with 19 points. He was extremely efficient, going 8-10 from the field and 3-3 from the free throw line.
The game's first half featured early up-tempo basketball, highlighted by Winton Lyle's (Washington, D.C. / Bullis School) electric dunk at the 15:21 mark. The high-flying freshman's flush gave the Lions an 8-4 advantage; the team's largest of the opening half.
LVC's Kyler Burke tied the score at 8 less than a minute later but sophomore Jamaal Dubose (Bowie, Md. / Bowie) reclaimed the lead for Penn State Harrisburg when he connected from beyond the arc with 14:11 left in the first half.
The Dutchmen took their first lead of the afternoon when Luke Berguson converted a layup to make it 12-11 at the 11:45 mark.
Junior Alberto De Los Santos (Enola, Pa. / East Pennsboro) regained the advantage for the Lions when he knocked down a three-ball with 7:59 remaining in the first half.
From there, the visitors came to life and Kevin Agnew started to feel it from distance. The point guard knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to give Lebanon Valley a 20-16 lead at the 5:56 mark. The Dutchmen would not trail the rest of the half. Leading 20-18 with five minutes left before the break, LVC used a 14-4 run to end the half and seemingly pull away from the home team.
But the Lions responded once the second half began. Deibler, senior Will Doyle (Franklin, Va. / Tidewater Academy) and De Los Santos started the post-break scoring and led the Blue & White to an 11-2 run over the first 3:23 of the half, drawing Penn State Harrisburg to within three points at 36-33.
Agnew and forward Joey Giangiobbe kept Lebanon Valley ahead thanks to a combination of a three-pointer, a free throw and a layup, but a pair of Doyle three-balls and a Lyle foul shot drew the margin to a manageable two points at 42-40 with 14:07 left to play.
Penn State Harrisburg faced its largest deficit of the second half at 47-41 with 11:11 remaining in regulation. Slowly but surely, the Lions swung the momentum in their favor thanks to a stifling defense and timely offense from a variety of contributors.
Deibler scored seven-straight points, including an old-fashioned three-point play, and gave the home team its first of the second half at 48-47 at the 8:35 mark. Joey Farthing (Lancaster, Pa. / Hempfield) was huge down the stretch. The junior hit a clutch jumper from beyond the arc to up Penn State Harrisburg's advantage to 53-50 with 5:50 left in the game before going 4-4 from the charity stripe in crunch time.
Doyle, De Los Santos, Lyle, Deibler and sophomore Rayshaun Anderson-Brown (Carlisle, Pa. / Carlisle) all hit shots when needed most and the Lions' defense held Lebanon Valley to eight points in the game's final five minutes. The Blue & White defense was so good, in fact, that no LVC player besides Agnew and Giangiobbe scored in the second half. The Dutchmen's two best players tried to preserve their early lead but they were no match for Penn State Harrisburg's balanced attack when it mattered most.
Doyle and Farthing each netted 13 points and both missed double-doubles by the slimmest of margins. Farthing grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots while Doyle dished-out a game-high eight assists. Lyle corralled a game-high 11 boards to go along with his six tallies and De Los Santos added nine crucial points off the bench.
Agnew scored a game-high 28 points. Giangiobbe was the only other Lebanon Valley player to reach the double-digit scoring mark with 12 tallies.
For the first time this season, the Lions outrebounded their opponents (33-25). Both teams shot 33.3 percent from downtown and foul shooting was nearly identical.
The come-from-behind victory improved Penn State Harrisburg to 2-3 on the season. Now the Lions turn their attention to the Capital Athletic Conference portion of their slate. The Blue & White hit the road for their CAC opener against York (Pa.) this Wednesday night, Dec. 4. The Spartans defeated Penn State Harrisburg in the teams' lone meeting at the Capital Union Building a year ago and the Lions would like nothing more than to avenge that defeat.
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Photos and video courtesy of John Diffenderfer and Penn State Harrisburg photographer Martika Porr