West Chester University men’s basketball team suffered its first loss in eight games at the hands of East Stroudsburg on Wednesday night inside Hollinger Field House.
Before the tough loss to East Stroudsburg, West Chester had to prepare for a home game against a good Bloomsburg team. Bloomsburg has had an up and down season thus far, and West Chester knew it was a game they should win to keep the streak going.
As West Chester was attempting to keep their streak going there was one person in the way, Christian Mortellite. Mortellite was single-handily doing everything in his power to will Bloomsburg to a win. He had 22 first half points on 5-8 shooting from beyond the arc, as they entered halftime-trailing 40-31. Had it not been for his 22 points the game would have been over before it even started.
For West Chester it was Mike Wilson that was providing the offense, as he paced West Chester with 11 first half points, including three baskets from behind the three-point line. It was a team effort for West Chester as they shot a blistering 58 percent from beyond the arc, and 40 percent from the field in the first half.
The second half was much of the same, as both teams continued to find ways to score. Mortellite finished with 37 points for the game while shooting 9-13 from the field. It was a truly stellar game from the redshirt freshmen.
However, it was not enough as West Chester was able to play team basketball and continue their winning streak, which was extended to seven games. Three Golden Rams finished with double figures with Cory Blake leading the way with 22 points. Wilson and Ben Mingledough finished with 12 and 13 points respectively. Matt Wiseley added nine rebounds and two blocks. He talked about how important their team play was in this winning streak after the game. “It just shows you how far we have come. We are really playing as a team and everyone can see it out on the court.”
Everything was lined up for the big game against East Stroudsburg. It was the hottest team in the PSAC against the best team. East Stroudsburg came in with a 16-8 record, and the last team to beat West Chester was East Stroudsburg over a month ago.
But this game was different; West Chester knew they were a better team then the one who lost by 26 five weeks ago. They knew coming into the game they were going to have to stop Whis Grant, who had 27 points in the previous meeting. And they did just that. They held him to 3-7 shooting with just 10 points, three of them being free throws later on in the game. But as they were doing their best to stop Grant, they forgot about Matt Tobin. Tobin finished with 22 points and seven assists.
West Chester played one of their best games of the season, and was leading in parts of the game, thanks to the work of their big men, Eric Frans and Cory Blake. Blake finished with 25 points, as Frans had 11 first-half points and helped keep them neck and neck with East Stroudsburg.
In the end, East Stroudsburg was a little too much for West Chester as they defeated the Golden Rams 82-76.
West Chester will take on Cheyney University and Mansfield University this week to finish out their regular season. Right now they are one game back of Kutztown for second place in the PSAC East.
Ryan Calpin is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at RC784188@wcupa