King's Men's Basketball Wins Season Opener with 77-66 Triumph Over Penn State Hazleton

NOVEMBER 15, 2016

WILKES-BARRE — The King's College men's basketball team built a 14-point lead in the first half but needed a late second-half run to hold off a pesky Penn State Hazleton squad 77-66 in the Monarchs' season opener Tuesday night in Scandlon Gymnasium.

King's (1-0) held a 21-16 lead with 10:16 to play in the first half, but a jumper by Tyler Millan and a pair of foul shots from Chris Fazzini stretch the lead to 25-16 with 8:49 on the clock. After the Lions cut the lead to 25-18 after a Jacob Solano driving lay-up with 6:45 to go, King's used a 7-2 spurt to stretch the lead to 32-18 with 3:45 left after a lay-up by Chris Fazzini and five straight points from John Fazzini with 3:45 remaining.

But the Lions used  9-2 surge to cut the lead to 34-27 at the break. Connor Callejas led the Monarchs in the first half with 11 points on 3-of-4 from three-point range.

In the second stanza the Monarchs extended the lead to 45-32 after a Dan Rutecki jumper with 16:25 left in the contest but Hazleton (2-3) slowly chipped away and cut the lead to 55-54 on a driving lay-up by Jacob Solano with 6:23 to play. The Monarchs countered with a three-pointer by Connor Callejas and one-of-two foul shots by John Fazzini to make it a 59-54 lead for the Monarchs.

With the score 67-62, King's received a huge three-pointer from Jake Barber, a driving lay-up by Rutecki, and one-of-two free throws from Barber to extend the lead to 73-62 with 1:05 to play. With Penn State forced to foul, Rutecki and Callejas both went two-for-two from the line to seal the victory.

Callejas led King's with 17 points and six rebounds while Rutecki followed with 14 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. John Fazzini finished with 11 points and five boards while Chris Fazzini tallied 10 points, 10 points ,and four rebounds. Millan netted nine points while Barber chipped in with eight points, four rebounds, and two assists.

King's shot 49.0 (24-49) percent from the field but were even better from three-point range, connecting on 76.9 (10-13) percent from down town.

King's returns to the court Friday and Saturday at the Susquehanna University Tip-Off Tournament in Selinsgrove. King's plays Franciscan University Friday at 6:00 p.m. And will play either Susqhenanna or Penn State Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.