West Chester, PA- The Golden Rams lost a key component of last season’s playoff team when point guard Mark Gerhart graduated. A void was left in his absence and Head Coach Dick Delaney might just have found the ideal replacement to run his offense.Freshman Kenneth St. George had 25 points and six rebounds. Senior Aaron Williams added 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Golden Rams Men’s Basketball team pulled out a 64-62 win over the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Mountain Cats Wednesday night at Hollinger Field House.
UPJ controlled the first half from the opening tip-off sprinting out to an early 14-2 lead. The Cats were led by senior guard J.J Schumacher who scored 10 points and added 11 rebounds. Schumacher was the most noticeable player on the floor for both teams in the first half as he just seemed to grab every loose ball. The Cats were also led by Marcus Tullis who scored 16 points, six of which came on three different acrobatic alley-oops. West Chester would chip away at the UPJ lead and appeared to be headed into half time down 31-23. However, a loose ball popped up and St. George dropped a 3 with one second left in the half to provide a big emotional spark for the Rams.
The second half was the Williams and St. George Show. St. George electrified the crowd with a dazzling array of nice runners, beautiful jump shots and good defense. Williams had a, by his own admission, “sub-par” first half, but in the second half it seemed every time WCU needed a big rebound Williams was shining glass. With WCU down 43-42, St. George split two defenders and was still able to lay the ball in and make the free throw for a huge three point play which seemed to change the momentum of the game.
St. George also brought the crowd to its feet with a spectacular runner with one second left on the shot clock, merely seconds after being the victim of a hard shove by a UPJ player, which went uncalled.
Unheralded point guard Kevin Stokes was brought in as a defensive stopper later on in the game and this seemed to fuel the Golden Ram defensive effort. Coach Dick Delaney called the last 7 minutes or so of the game, “some of the best defense we’ve played all year”. The Rams threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Cats, and it paid off. With the game very tight nearing the end, St. George was able to put the icing on the cake capping a perfect night at the free throw line with 4 clutch shots which sealed the Cats fate. When asked about the night’s on-court performance however, and St. George was quick to delegate all the credit to his teammates, saying “My teammates have shown a lot of confidence in me all year, and little things like that have helped me elevate my game”. If this is a sign of things to come, this team could end up being very special.
The Golden Rams followed up their win over UPJ with a heartbreaking 78-77 loss to East Stroudsburg. Senior Shawn Werdt led the way with 21 points and Williams continued his stellar play with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
West Chester travels to Washington D.C on Monday night for a game vs. District of Columbia and return home Wednesday night for the PSAC East home opener in a cross-county clash with rival Cheyney.