Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

The West Chester men’s basketball team followed up their home loss to Cheyney by going 1-2 since. They won at home against Mansfield on Saturday Feb. 5 and then lost their next two games by close margins on the road to Kutztown and East Stroudsburg.The Rams’ home game against Cheyney was going to set the pace for the upcoming week. It was being played at their home court and guaranteed to bring in the biggest crowd of the year. People from West Chester and Cheyney alike poured into Hollinger Field House on Wednesday, Feb. 2 for the cross-town rivalry.

Although it did prove to be a spirited match, West Chester couldn’t hang on at the very end and ended up falling to Cheyney by seven points, 69-62.

The disappointing loss didn’t weigh on the shoulders of the West Chester players long enough to keep them out of their match against Mansfield the following Saturday. Mansfield leads the PSAC East and would prove to be a tough matchup.

However, the Rams held Mansfield to only 51 points to capture the 64-51 win. This is the second time the Rams have beat Mansfield this season. Mansfield still sits atop the PSAC East with a 7-3 conference record and a 15-7 record overall.

West Chester hit the road for their next two matchups. Their first was against the currently second place Kutztown.

The game remained close through all 60 minutes with 17 ties and 16 lead changes. The largest lead either team was able to garner was only seven points.

The teams went into halftime looking at a 31-30 score. Kutztown only led by one and it was anyone’s game.

But West Chester was unable to take advantage of opportunities that were handed to them at the end of the game that could have easily given the Rams the win. They were trailing by only two points with 23 seconds remaining in the game and had possession of the ball.

With 10 seconds left in the game and the score 65-64 in Kutztown’s favor, Shannon Givens stepped to the line to take a pair of free throws that would have given West Chester a lead.

West Chester was forced to foul Kutztown’s Tamir Johnson who sank both free throws to make it a three point game. Harley Williamson’s last second three-pointer missed the target and West Chester walked away from another game with a disappointing tally in the loss column.

Williamson was the leading scorer for the Rams with 15 points. Khalif Foster added another 11 for the Rams. Nate Edwards was the leading scorer for Kutztown with 23 points.

Neither team was shooting spectacularly from the field, hence the somewhat low scoring game.

The Rams had a chance for redemption on Saturday when they traveled to East Stroudsburg for a conference matchup against a team that sits only slightly above them in the standings.

Rather than keeping the game close throughout like they did against Kutztown on Wednesday, West Chester allowed East Stroudsburg to take control of the game that forced them into a hole that they needed to climb out of.

ESU only had a five point lead going into halftime, but came out for the second half with the intention of expanding that lead. And for a while it seemed like West Chester was just going to let them. The Rams’ shooting woes continued as they came up blank from the field in the beginning of the second half.

Through the first five minutes of the second half, ESU went on a 14-4 run that left West Chester looking at a 15 point deficit. The Rams were able to claw back and make the last six minutes worth watching.

With just over a minute left, Foster made one of his two free throw attempts to tie the game at 70. Although the Rams staged a pretty impressive late comeback, ESU was able to hold off their attempts and take another close game from the Rams and win 78-72.

Kehinde Roberts and Jaleel Mack each scored 14 points for West Chester while Lance McDowell added another 11.

The Rams ended their week sitting second to last in the PSAC East standings. They have a 3-7 record in the conference and a 12-10 record overall.

West Chester will return home this week when they host Shippensburg on Wednesday and Millersville on Saturday inside Hollinger Field House. Wednesday’s game starts at 8 p.m. and Saturday’s game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. West Chester beat Shippensburg by a fairly substantial margin earlier in the season.

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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