West Chester University men’s basketball team fell to undefeated East Stroudsburg on Saturday, 107-94. In a very high-scoring and fast paced game, East Stroudsburg used its press and good transition defense to force 23 West Chester turnovers, in which they scored 32 points. West Chester fell to 12-6, and East Stroudsburg remained undefeated at 18-0.
The game started off to a fast pace from the opening tip-off and the Warriors got off to an early 9-2 lead. From then on, they controlled the first half, not relinquishing the lead for the entire half. West Chester played well and answered every punch that the Warriors gave them, sticking close throughout the first half. At the end of the first half, the score was 61-54, with the leading scorers being Whis Grant of East Stroudsburg with 19, and Troy Hockaday, of West Chester, with 20.
The beginning of the second half started much of the same for West Chester as the Warriors opened up the half on a 7-2 run, pushing their lead to double digits, and the game stayed a double digit deficit for most of the second half, until the Golden Rams made a spirited comeback around the seven minute mark, cutting the lead to a one possession game, and eventually taking the lead by one with 6:43 left in the game. They took the lead on a Corey Blake jumper. However the Warriors would fight back, after West Chester got up 91-85, the Warriors went on a 22-3 run to end the game, with 8 points coming from Rasheed Moore.
Both teams played a great game, but as sophomore forward Matt Wisely stated, “They are a good team and we know they weren’t letting up easy at the end, and we had a few mistakes at the end which cost us the lead and we just couldn’t get it back.” Wisely had four points, eight rebounds, and six assists in the loss.
The leading scorers for the Golden Rams were Troy Hockaday with 29 points and Shannon Givens with 20 points off the bench. For the Warriors, Grant had 31 points and Rasheed Moore added 24 as well. West Chester out rebounded East Stroudsburg 45-36, and they also had the edge in points in the paint, fast break points, and second chance points. The key reason for the loss was West Chester’s 23 turnovers, and the opportunities that the Warriors cashed in off of them. Next up, West Chester will travel to Cheyney for a night game on Wednesday. Tip off is at 8:00 p.m.
Since December 7 (our last issue), West Chester is 7-4. They had back-to-back losses against California PA., and Slippery Rock, both very close games. Then, they ripped off six straight wins, with a couple of very exciting games. They beat Edinboro, Mercyhurst, Gannon, Clarion, Lock Haven, and Shippensburg over those six games.
However, they have now dropped two straight to the two best teams in the PSAC East, Bloomsburg University, in a heartbreaker at the buzzer, and then today’s loss against East Stroudsburg. On the season, the leaders for the Golden Rams are Troy Hockaday, averaging 16.9 points per game. Senior guard Hockaday has been on a tear as of late. As stated before, he had 29 points against East Stroudsburg, he had 20 points against Lock Haven, 16 points against Clarion, and 18 points against Mercyhurst. In all those games, except for the East Stroudsburg game, the Golden Rams came out on top. It shows the importance that he has on the court. Not only is he a socring machine, but he also has the presence and leadership that can guid this team to a deep playoff run, and the ultimate goal of a PSAC Championship.
Matt Wisely is leading the team with 6.9 rebounds per game, and Shannon Givens is leading with 2.8 assists per game.
They sit in third place in the PSAC East, a little past the midpoint way of the season. “I think it’s going well so far despite the past two losses we’ve had, but we just have to regroup and focus on the next stretch of games and make a little run,” Wisely said about the team’s season so far.
The game on Wednesday should be a good bounce-back game for the Golden Rams as Cheyney University is only 2-16, and is in the bottom of the PSAC East. Saturday is the next home game for the Golden Rams, facing off against Mansfield University, which is another game the Rams should be able to win. In the final eight regular season games, the Golden Rams will have three match-ups that will be important down the stretch for playoff implications. They are games against Shippensburg, Bloomsburg, and East Stroudsburg, and games in which they went 1-2 the first time around. Over the winter break, head coach Damien Blair won his 100th game as West Chester head coach. In his third season, he became the fastest Rams basketball coach to recieve his 100th win.
Ben Mingledough is an upcoming star for the Golden Rams, as he put in 15 points in the lost against the Warriors. He has been seeing a lot more minutes because of his hustle and clean up work he does around the basket. He is one of the leaders on the team for second chance points. He has been a great help to the Golden Rams success so far this season. Mingledough is a junior guard from Philadelphia, Pa.
Half of the games are at home, and half are on the road, West Chester is 6-2 at home, and 6-4 on the road, something they are looking to improve on, and will have a chance at that in a few days.
Ryan Calpin is a second-year student majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at RC784188@wcupa.edu.