---- — By The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT -- Sophomore Brandon Hedley and freshman Steven Weidlich each scored 25 points apiece as the Susquehanna men defeated Lycoming, 99-84, in the 2013-14 season opener on Tuesday evening.
While opening the season with a win is nice, it was also the first win for the Crusaders over the Warriors since 2007.
The Crusaders (1-0) trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half before outscoring the Warriors (2-1) 57-42 in the second half to grab the season-opening victory. The win snapped a five-game losing streak to Lycoming, the longest drought against the Warriors since 1965-68.
Hedley matched his career high with 25 points, behind 8-of-20 shooting and 5-of-9 shooting from deep range, while collecting seven assists and five rebounds.
In his collegiate debut, Weidlich matched Hedley with 25 points (8-of-14 field goals) while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out two assists. Sophomore Josh Miller scored 17 points off the bench and nearly missed a double-double with nine rebounds.
Susquehanna shot 51.6 percent from the field (32-of-62) and 55 percent from behind the arc (11-of-20). The Crusaders also converted 24-of-30 shots from the free throw line.
The Warriors were led by 25 points from senior Michael Rudy as four players scored in double figures to pace Lycoming.
The evening started out with Hedley knocking down a three-pointer to hand SU a very early lead but the Warriors countered with a 10-0 run, including a pair of shots beyond the arc by Rudy, before another Hedley field goal stopped the Lycoming burst.
However, the Crusaders would go on an offensive spurt as Tre Dean hit a layup and senior Jake Eskin (converted a fast-break layup to cut the early deficit to 12-9. But another pair of Warrior three-pointers extended the Lycoming lead to 18-12 with 14:42 remaining in the first half.
edley would knock down a jumper to get the Crusaders within four at 18-14, but another quick run by the Warriors forced head coach Frank Marcinek to call a timeout with the Crusaders trailing by nine.
Weidlich scored his first collegiate points on a three to bring SU within eight points at 9:58, but again the Warriors responded with a quick basket to grab another double-digit lead. However, the Crusaders would bounce back as newcomer Phil Madison hit a fast break jumper from downtown, Eskin made a layup and Weidlich sunk another field goal to bring the Orange and Maroon within three with 7:17 left in the first half.
Lycoming went up by seven on a Rudy dunk but a Hedley three-pointer brought the Crusaders to within one point, 35-34, with 4:17 to play in the first half.
The Crusaders then grabbed their first lead of the night, 39-37, since the opening minutes with another Hedley trey at 1:44. Weidlich hit a long-range shot with 33 seconds left as both teams headed to the locker room knotted at 42.
Susquehanna grabbed a 13-point cushion in the second half when Weidlich hit a jumper, forcing the Warriors to call a timeout with 15:52 left in the contest.
The Crusaders host the 24th-annual Pepsi Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 22-23 with SU playing PSU-Wilkes-Barre on Friday night at 8 p.m.