MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – For much of the 2013-14 season, it's seemed like Penn State Harrisburg has been one bounce of the ball, one fortunate break, one key run away from picking up crucial victories. Instead, the Lions have ended up on the wrong end of those situations more times than they would have liked this year. Saturday afternoon's matchup against Southern Virginia was no different. After falling behind by as many as 18 points, the Blue & White made it a one possession game late in regulation. Unfortunately, the Lions failed to get a decisive defensive stop when it mattered most and ultimately fell to the Knights 74-67.
Penn State Harrisburg senior captain Will Doyle (Franklin, Va. / Tidewater Academy) continued his recent string of stellar outings and dropped a game-high 16 points on Southern Virginia. He also dished out a game-high five assists. Sophomore Jared Deibler (Middletown, Pa. / Middletown Area) added 12 points and a team-high six rebounds off the bench. Fellow sophomore Rayshaun Anderson-Brown (Carlisle, Pa. / Carlisle) was also strong as he posted 11 points and five boards.
The Lions were strong out of the gate and jumped out to a 12-5 lead when junior Joey Farthing (Lancaster, Pa. / Hempfield) converted a layup at the 14:42 mark.
The Knights were able to regroup and keep things close during the game's opening ten minutes until Wesley Evans connected from beyond the arc with 7:06 remaining in the first half to tie the score at 20 apiece.
From there, Southern Virginia ended the half on a 12-4 run and took a 32-24 advantage into the break.
After both teams struggled to get going offensively to begin the second half, Penn State Harrisburg scored six straight to cut the deficit to 32-30 following a layup by freshman Winton Lyle (Washington, D.C. / Bullis School) with 15:22 left to play.
But just as quickly as the Blue & White climbed back into the game, Southern Virginia was able to cushion its advantage thanks to a 12-0 run over the next two minutes. Trailing 52-34 with just over eight minutes left to play, the Lions were determined to make one last push.
Penn State Harrisburg traded buckets with the Knights before getting stops on the defensive end that allowed the home team to cut into Southern Virginia's lead. The Lions put together an 18-8 run over a four and a half minute stretch that brought them to within just four points of the visitors at 62-58 with 2:06 left in the game.
Unfortunately, that's as close as the Lions would get.
Doyle and Anderson-Brown did their best to keep the Lions in it but every time the Blue & White made a big shot, Southern Virginia had an answer.
Despite shooting nearly identically from the field (43.5 percent to 42.1 percent), Southern Virginia held the edge in shooting from distance when it knocked down nine three-balls compared to just three by the Blue & White. The Lions also struggled from the line, shooting just 58.8 percent.
The loss dropped Penn State Harrisburg to 7-14 on the year but did not affect the team's record in league play. The Lions will look to right the ship when they host Marymount (Va.) on Wednesday night, Feb. 12.
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