Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

West Chester University men’s basketball team is finally playing fundamental, team basketball. After a bumpy start to the season, it all seems to be clicking at the right time.

After back-to-back wins against Cheyney and Mansfield last week, the Golden Rams were on the road to take on Millersville and Kutztown University, two huge PSAC matchups.

First up was Millersville, who was sporting a 10-10 record before the game. West Chester beat up on Millersville earlier in the season in a home game that featured a near 30-point victory for the Golden Rams. This time the game was a lot closer. This game featured more lead changes and tie scores then the last one did. At one point in the game Millersville was up by 10, midway through the first half. West Chester had to battle back if they wanted to steal a must needed PSAC victory on the road. [pullquote align=”right”]This was a really good win for us. We fought hard as a team and we were happy to beat a good team on the road.[/pullquote]

The rally started late in the first half, after being down throughout most of the first half. The spark came from Parrish Grant who had 12 first half points, including hitting both three-pointers he attempted. With the late rally West Chester went into the locker room with the lead, 38-33.

West Chester was slow coming out of the gates in the second half, allowing Millersville to retake the lead, with an 8-0 before coach Blair for West Chester took a 30 second timeout. After the timeout, both teams were playing good basketball, with score going back and forth between the teams. With just over four minutes left in the game, the score was tied at 65.

From that moment on West Chester outscored Millersville 14-7 to close the game, with a lot of the work coming from West Chester’s Ben Mingledough  who scored six of West Chester’s final 14, and Mingledough finished with 19 points en route to the 79-72 victory for West Chester. It was a good team win for West Chester, who then needed to gather themselves and get ready for Kutztown on Saturday.

Coming into Saturday’s matchup Kutztown was second in the PSAC with a 13-8 record, however, they did fall to West Chester earlier in the season in a dramatic 63-60 contest, where Kutztown’s Martin Dietrich missed the potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

This game lacked no dramatics that is for sure. West Chester took this game 97-96 in four overtimes! And it was the epitome of a team win for West Chester, which featured five Golden Rams in double figures. Thomas White led West Chester with 20 points on 8-9 shooting, and Tynell Fortune led all scorers with 21 points.

It was a close game throughout the entire length of the contest. The score was tied 13 times, and it also changed 13 times. The difference in the game was West Chester shot 53 percent from three, where Kutztown struggled and shot 31 percent. Matt Wiseley who recorded his fifth double-double of his West Chester career, with 11 points and 11 rebounds, said after the game, “This was a really good win for us. We fought hard as a team and we were happy to beat a good team on the road.”

Wiseley summed it up perfectly by saying how they beat a good team on the road, because five of the final six games of the regular season are at home, and when you are playing your best basketball against good teams, more times then not you tend to play better as a team in front of your home crowd. They will need to be able to do that to continue rising in the PSAC standings, now only one game out of second place. Their recipe for success is team basketball, and they are at their best when they are sharing the ball. All the hard work they have been putting in over the weeks comes down to this five game home stand, and it will be crucial in terms of playoff implications.

West Chester will face Lock Haven on Wednesday at home, and then they will welcome Shippensburg, Bloomsburg, and East Stroudsburg. They will then head the Cheyney for their final regular season away matchup, before their regular season finale against Mansfield is at home. In these six games, the two games that stick out are Bloomsburg University and East Stroudsburg University. East Stroudsburg and West Chester have created somewhat of a rivalry over the past few seasons and it is always fun to see what is in store when these two teams face off. Plus East Stroudsburg is atop the PSAC East standings, so their is that as well.

Ryan Calpin is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RC784188@wcupa

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