By Mike Henken Staff writer
The No. 19-ranked Susquehanna men’s basketball team beat Penn State Harrisburg 82- 56 away at the Capital Union Building on Nov. 27. The win marked the River Hawks’ fourth in a row.
The Lions were leading Susquehanna 17-16 midway through the first half of play, but the River Hawks grabbed the lead and did not relinquish it throughout the duration of the contest.
Susquehanna went on to outscore Penn State Harrisburg 66-39 during the remainder of the game and the team entered halftime with a 39-28 lead.
The River Hawks were led by sophomore guard Tyler Hoagland and senior guard Steve Weidlich who both contributed 16 points to the team’s victory.
Hoagland had 11 points in the first half, including three baskets from beyond the arc. Weidlich found most of his success at the free throw line, making 10 of his 12 attempts.
Hoagland also led the Susquehanna defense, nabbing a game-high three steals.
Junior center Ryan Traub added 14 points of his own, while freshman forward Jacob Welsh tallied 13 points, which is a career high.
Welsh also added a career-high seven rebounds.
Rebounds turned out to be a key factor in Susquehanna’s victory, as the team out rebounded the Lions 42-29. Susquehanna also shot the ball better, shooting 47 percent from the field compared to Penn State Harrisburg’s mark of 31 percent.
The River Hawks also made 30 of 37 free throw attempts as opposed to Penn State Harrisburg’s 14 of 22.
Susquehanna’s defense was tough all night, forcing the Nittany Lions into difficult shots.
Although it hasn’t been without adversity, the River Hawks have jumped out to a strong start this season, which Weidlich attributes to multiple factors.
“I think we can attribute our team’s strong start to our persistence as a unit,” he said. “All of our guys have been tuned in and focused during practice which has enabled us to play deeper into our bench with the amount of injuries we have had to start the season.”
“We dealt with quite a bit of adversity in our first five games, but we saw guys step up and fill voids that needed to be filled. Hopefully, this foreshadows a positive future as we developed a deep bench during the injuries and now have players returning. All in all, I can attribute our strong start to the young guys on our team stepping up and filling the roles of some veterans that were battling injuries.”
Susquehanna is now gearing up to begin conference play, as the team will next travel to Baltimore on Saturday, Dec. 3 to take on Goucher at 4 p.m.
While Weidlich admitted that preparation hasn’t changed much heading into conference play, he did say that there’s a strong feeling of “excitement” in the air.
“The team has been preparing for conference play just like we prepared for our out-of-conference games,” he said.
“Our approach has remained fairly consistent as our goal with our out-of-conference schedule is to get us as prepared for conference play so we treat those games as if they were a conference game,” he said. “But, there is definitely a feeling of excitement within the team as we are eager to start the ‘games that count.’”