The West Chester University’s men’s basketball team wrapped up their regular season against a nationally ranked East Stroudsburg team, a team they had already lost to at home earlier in the season. This time, the game was at East Stroudsburg, and even though both teams were virtually playing for nothing, West Chester was looking to exact revenge on the Warriors.
East Stroudsburg came into the game sporting only the one loss on the season to Lock Haven, and were trying to continue their momentum into the post-season. For West Chester, they had already locked up a second seed for the PSAC playoffs, a first round bye, and a home quarterfinal matchup. They were playing to try and get back at the Warriors for the 107-94 loss earlier in the season. The second game of the two- game season series was competitive throughout. Unlike the last game, this game sported good defense and spotty offense, as the leading scorer for the Golden Rams Shannon Givens with 22 points, and the Warriors’ Will Brown with 25 points.
Throughout the first half, East Stroudsburg built a small six to nine- point lead that they held the entire first half, going into the locker rooms with a 46-37 lead. The Warriors held that nine- point lead, and stayed by it for the first eight minutes of the second half, but with about 12 minutes left, the Golden Rams picked up the pace and cut the lead to a one possession game. They did this on free throws and jumpers made by both Givens and Ben Mingledough.
Mingledough hit a three with eight minutes left to cut the lead to one point, 60-59. West Chester then took their first lead of the game on a layup by Matt Wiseley, who had a game-high 14 rebounds on the night. Two free throws by Givens 30 seconds later gave West Chester their biggest lead of the night at three points.
With two minutes left in the game, West Chester relinquished the lead on a jumper by Zechariah Runkle, and they never got it back. They fell to the Warriors for the second time on the season, 74-71.
West Chester had two chances in the final 20 seconds to tie the game, and both shots came from Givens. The first shot was halfway down, and all around the rim, before falling out and being rebounded by the Warriors. The Golden Rams sent the Warriors point guard, Matt Tobin to the line, as he tired to ice the game, however, he failed to do so, and West Chester would have one last shot, as Tobin missed both free throws. Givens raced down the court, and left the shot just short, which handed the Rams the defeat.
Although a win against a nationally ranked team would have looked really good for the Golden Rams on their resume, the loss did not hurt them too much. As before stated, they still had the two seed and a first-round bye, along with a home quarterfinal playoff matchup.
The Rams were watching a Kutztown versus Bloomsburg game on Saturday as they are getting the winner of that game on Tuesday night. They were able to watch the Huskies take the victory 82-71. They now know that they will face the Bloomsburg Huskies on Tuesday night for a spot in the PSAC semi-finals.
The Rams are 1-1 on the season against the Huskies, losing a heartbreaker at home earlier in the season 77-76 on a buzzer beater dunk with seven seconds left by Alssene Saintilus. However, two games ago, the Rams faced them again, and controlled the game, winning easily 81-68. The leading scorer for the Rams for that game was Cory Blake with 20 points.
The Rams will need to win three games to clinch an automatic birth into the Division II playoffs.
In order to do this they will need to control the pace of the game and play good defense in order to continue on their path of winning the PSAC Championship and the achieving the ultimate goal of winning the Division II Championship.
Ryan Calpin is a second-year student majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at RC784188@wcupa.edu.