The West Chester University men’s basketball team, fresh off the heels of a 3-1 start in the opening week of the season, continued their non-conference schedule this past week by splitting a pair of games. The Golden Rams defeated Wilmington 83-44 and lost to Lock Haven 70-68.The Golden Rams rode a strong performance from junior guard Kenny St. George past an overwhelmed Wilmington team. St. George had scored 26 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists in the blowout. West Chester’s excellent defense caused a major Wilmington dry spell in the first half, as Wilmington went almost nine minutes without a field goal.
WCU forced Wilmington into taking awkward shots, and it showed, as the Wildcats shot a putrid 4-20 from the field in the first half. Chris VonTanhausen came off the bench to add 17 points on the strength of 5-6 shooting from the field, including a perfect 3-3 from beyond the three-point arc. Ralph Hegamin also chipped in eight points and seven rebounds.
Forward Sam Scott saw his first minutes of the year. The 6’5″ forward showcased his tremendous athleticism on the football field this year, as he finished second on the team in tackles and tackles for loss as well as third on the team in sacks. With the football season finally over, Scott re-joined the basketball team and picked right up from where he left off last year.
Scott grabbed five rebounds in merely ten minutes and brought instant energy off the bench. Scott shot 0-4 from the field, but it is to be expected with his lack of practice lately. Guard Sandy Tanner showcased his defensive ability against Wilmington with six of the team’s 15 steals. Not only did the Golden Rams record 15 steals, they also forced Wilmington to turn over the ball 24 times and held Wilmington to 31.7% shooting from the field.
West Chester then traveled to Lock Haven for a PSAC crossover game. Lock Haven jumped out to a 14-point lead at the half, and looked like they were going to bury the Golden Rams. However, WCU started pecking away at the Bald Eagles’ lead, finally tying it up on a Kevin Stokes free throw with 4:51 left in the game.
With Lock Haven leading 68-65, Anthony Haley hit a huge three-point shot to tie the game up at 68. With time winding down, Lock Haven called a timeout with 4.7 seconds left, and set up a back-door lay-up to Christian Warren who did not waste his opportunity to drive a dagger into WCU’s heart. Warren’s lay-up gave the Bald Eagles a 70-68 lead.
VonTanhausen had one more chance to be the hero for the Golden Rams, but his attempt to beat the buzzer fell just short of the hoop. Hegamin continued his outstanding play as he scored 19 points and added nine rebounds. Tanner and St. George also contributed with 10 points, and Theil Benn put together a solid game with eight points and four rebounds.
The Golden Rams will get back to work after finals week, as they will travel to Philadelphia on Dec. 17 to take on Holy Family before coming back home for a four-game home stand. They will need to piece together a nice winning streak to gain momentum before they enter a grueling PSAC East schedule at the beginning of the second semester.
Matt Chandik is a fourth-year student majoring in Spanish with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at MC618553@wcupa.edu.