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Scranton drops heartbreaker to rival Wilkes-Barre

Scranton vs Wilkes Barre Recap
Scranton vs Wilkes Barre Recap

By: Ross Turetsky, Penn State Scranton Athletics

Dunmore, PA - On a Saturday home afternoon matinee, Penn State Scranton's men's basketball lost a nail-biter, by a mere three points, 73-70, to conference rival Penn State Wilkes-Barre. With the close defeat, Scranton has now lost four straight games, all in conference play, and now sees their record stand at 4-8 overall and 2-5 in the all-important league contests, as they head into their month long holiday and end of the semester break.

After the Lions from Scranton raced out to an impressive seven point, 38-31 lead, at the close of the first half, the road warriors from Wilke-Barre came storming back and after several lead changes and a hotly contested final twenty minutes of play, outscored the home squad by ten points, 42-32, in the second half to seize the hard fought, close three point victory.

Scranton was led on offense by three of their stand-out players scoring in double figures on the day, in the dynamic duo of seniors Rob McAndrew and Matt Dessoye, and junior big man Joel Castillo. McAndrew scored a game-high 24 points, on a red hot 10-14 shooting, hitting on two of his five attempts from beyond the arc, and grabbing eight rebounds in his stalwart 34 minute effort. Dessoye notched 18 points, nearly missed out on a double-double performance with nine assists, and picked up two boards while playing the entire 40 minutes of the contest. Castillo put up a solid 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists in his 31 minutes on the court. Last but certainly not least, an honorable mention goes to graduating senior Michael Foder, who in his last game of his collegiate basketball career for the Lions was all heart out there on the court and provided a crucial spark, as he scored six points, had five rebounds, five assists, and three steals in his well-rounded 36 minutes of play.

The Penn State Wilkes-Barre squad also had three players score in double figures in the matchup, as sophomore Shaquille Ricks, and a combo of seniors, Kaii Gilliam and Kevin Major led the way. Ricks came off the bench and was stellar, as he scored a team-high 20 points on 7-13 shooting from the field, to go along with his seven rebounds, and two assists in his 25 minutes of play. Gilliam scored 13 points, put up four rebounds, and had two assists in his 32 minute performance. Finally, Major had a quality 10 points, three assists, and grabbed three boards, hitting on two of his six attempts from beyond the arc in his 27 minutes on the floor.

Head Coach Chris Sload and his Penn State Scranton squad will next be back in action in the New Year, on January 8th, at 1pm, when they host local Clarks Summit University in non-conference action. Meanwhile, head coach LeShawn Hammett and his Penn State Wilkes-Barre ball club, who enter 2022 with an awe-inspiring 10-1 overall mark and a perfect, undefeated 7-0 record in league play, will look to stay hot and expand their winning streak to three straight games when they host conference foe Penn State Lehigh Valley at 8pm on Friday, January 14th.