Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

West Chester men’s basketball finished their week with a big win over Mansfield after losing a disappointing fight against their PSAC rival Cheyney.When West Chester and Cheyney get together for a match, hard fouls and physical contention are always expected. And that’s exactly what the near 1,800 fans that piled into Hollinger Field House on Wednesday night received.

In the first of two meetings of the season, Cheyney came out firing from the beginning and caught a flat West Chester team. In the first nine minutes of the game, Cheyney led a 15-2 run that left West Chester searching for their rhythm and shot. Although they were able to put together a couple of offensive opportunities, West Chester still went into halftime down 32-20.

However, a completely different West Chester team took the court in the second half. West Chester started the second half on a 16-4 run and found themselves tied with Cheyney. The rest of the contest was very physical, with 34 fouls being called in the second half alone. Kenny St. George left the game for a brief period of time to tend to a shoulder injury, but returned to the Rams to finish the game.

“I dislocated my shoulder. They popped it back in, and I went back out,” Kenny St. George said, who led the team with 15 points. “It was a crucial part of the game and I wanted to come back.”

The game would remain close until the end, but West Chester was never able to take the lead from Cheyney. The Wolves were able to hold off the late West Chester surge and ultimately win 60-52.

Cheyney’s Sharif Bray led the game in scoring with 21 points.

“Play hard and rebound,” Bray said. “That’s all we needed to do. Just play hard. And we had to rebound and keep them to one shot. I knew this was a rivalry game, and when it’s a rivalry there are always a lot of fouls. It was a very physical game.”

As West Chester was struggling against Cheyney’s offense and trying to figure out what was wrong with their own, Ralph Hegamin, their leading scorer, was sitting on the bench with a leg injury.

“Of course Ralph would make a difference,” St. George said. “But we have to be able to compensate for him and we didn’t do that tonight. We need other guys to be able to step up and we should still be able to win.”

Even with Hegamin out of the lineup, to Cheyney coach Dominique Stephens a win is a win.

“I am satisfied with the win,” Stephens said. “We prepare and try to factor in how the game would have looked with Hegamin, but we still went out there and worked hard and won.”

“All year long we’ve said it’s one through 15,” West Chester head coach Damien Blair said. “We should be able to compete at a high level even without him. We were out of sync. We weren’t shooting well. It’s tough to shoot 12 for 52 and beat a good team. We have guys that can make those shots and tonight we weren’t shooting well.”

West Chester only shot 4 for 23 from behind the three-point line, and three of those shots came from the hands of Kenny St. George. Sam Scott was West Chester’s other leading scorer with 14 points, 12 of which came from the free throw line. Scott was also a major rebound contributor as he was able to grab 12 for the Rams.

Coach Blair spent a lot of time looking to his bench and trying out different combinations of five.

“We had to go a little deeper on the bench tonight than we usually do,” Blair said. “We were trying to find a combination that would work well together and put up points.”

West Chester will rematch Cheyney when they travel to their court on Feb. 10.

Following the PSAC Conference lost, West Chester came out with a whole new level of energy against another conference foe, Mansfield.

West Chester rotated the lead with Mansfield until 10 minutes into the game when the Rams pulled away and never looked back. West Chester finished the half on a 35-17 run to go into halftime with a commanding 50-29 lead.

The second half would prove to be no different as West Chester saw their biggest lead of the game at 22 points. There was a slight turn of events when Mansfield was able to rally back and find themselves within six points of the host team in the final five minutes, but West Chester was able to fight them off and win the game 89-75, handing Mansfield their first league loss this year. The loss also snapped a six game winning streak for Mansfield.

Kenny St. George led the team again with 20 points, with Kehinde Roberts contributing 16 and Harley Williamson adding 15. Ralph Hegamin returned to the lineup after sitting out a game because of a leg injury. He finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Mansfield’s Ryan Callahan was the game’s leading scorer with 28 points. Mansfield is now in a three way tie for first place in the PSAC East with Kutztown and East Stroudsburg.

West Chester has improved to 13-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference. Their next game is on Wednesday, Jan. 27 when they travel to Kutztown. They return home on Wednesday, Feb. 3 to take on Shippensburg.

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

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