Mon. May 16th, 2022

The West Chester University men’s basketball team saw their playoff hopes crushed when they traveled to Cheyney last Wednesday night for a game against their cross-town rivals. West Chester then hosted Bloomsburg on Saturday afternoon inside Hollinger Field House where seniors Kehinde Roberts and Elie Daniel were honored.After the Rams won back-to-back games at home against Shippensburg and Millersville, they had to win against Cheyney to be able to keep their postseason chances alive.

From the beginning of the game, it looked like the Rams were going to be able to steal an away victory from the Wolves. Cheyney’s place is never an easy place to win and West Chester was seemingly dismissing the chants of the crowd and playing a good game of basketball.

Khalif Foster made the opening jumper of the game to get West Chester started. The Rams held onto the lead throughout the entire first half, and at one point led by as many as 11 points. They shot 44.8 percent from the field and went 13-16 from the free throw line.

Although Cheyney was just as good with 45.2 percent field goal percentage and went 6-7 from the free throw line, West Chester went into halftime with a four-point lead.

West Chester picked up the second half where they left off and continued to build upon their lead. Again, they led Cheyney by as many as 11 points and it seemed like everything was dropping for the Rams.

Cheyney slowly began to stage a comeback and kept the game close. With only 3:13 left in the game Sharif Bray drained a 3-pointer that gave Cheyney their first lead of the game at 68-66.

From that point on, West Chester kept themselves in the game by making key free throws and found themselves locked in a 72-72 tie with only 1:39 left in the game.

However, West Chester was unable to stop Bray who had seven points in the last two minutes of the game to lift Cheyney over the visiting Rams and eliminate any remaining hope that West Chester had for the playoffs. The final score of the game was 78-72.

Despite the loss, West Chester had a pretty strong game. In past games, their misses at the free throw line has been the difference between some wins and losses. Against Cheyney, West Chester shot 83.3 percent from the line, going 20-24.

Lance McDowell was the leading scorer for the Rams with 18 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds. Foster finished with 15 points and Jaleel Mack added another 13.

Bray, who averages over 20 points a game for Cheyney, accounted for 32 of the Wolves’ points on Wednesday night.

In Saturday’s season finale, West Chester welcomed Bloomsburg into Hollinger Field House for an afternoon match-up. Prior to the game, West Chester honored their two seniors, Roberts and Daniel, who have been important figures to the West Chester line-up for the past couple of seasons.

Roberts has been a strong offensive contributor for the Rams throughout his career wearing purple and gold. He gets a substantial amount of minutes per game and last season he led the team with the most 3-pointers made.

Daniel has also been a strong addition to the Golden Rams. His strong presence on the court has made him a 26-26 starter this season for the Golden Rams. He ended the season with the best free throw percentage on the team (of players who shot more than 10 free throws).

The game against Bloomsburg started out swinging West Chester’s way. They held the lead for the first five minutes of the opening half, but eventually let Bloomsburg fight their way back. By halftime, Bloomsburg led West Chester 36-28.

Once the second half started, West Chester came out a little flat and let Bloomsburg extend their lead to as many as 12 with 13:41 remaining in the half. West Chester finally found their footing and fought their way back into the game and regained the lead on a made pair of free throws by Carl Johnson with only 1:57 left in the game.

However, that was the last lead that West Chester would have. Mack made a layup with three seconds left that made the score 56-55 Bloomsburg, but the Huskies went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final seconds of the game to give the visitors the marginal win. Bloomsburg went on to win the game 61-58 and hand West Chester a loss in their final game of the season.

Both Roberts and Daniel were major contributors with 13 points each to the Rams’ offense in West Chester’s loss against Bloomsburg on Saturday. Roberts went 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point line and finished the afternoon going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Daniel was also perfect from the penalty stripe.

Foster added 10 points for the Golden Rams which placed three Golden Rams’ players in double figures.

Although Bloomsburg won their final game of the season, they needed Cheyney to lose their game in order to have a chance at postseason play. However, Cheyney defeated Mansfield Saturday afternoon to knock Bloomsburg out of playoff contention.

Amy Festa is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at AF649219@wcupa.edu.

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