The West Chester University men’s basketball (9-11, 7-8 PSAC East) team has dropped two of their last three games, but they managed to avenge a tough loss from earlier this month as they upended Mansfield University (7-11, 5-10 PSAC) 94-66 in a lopsided home-affair this past Saturday afternoon.
WCU’s balanced attack was too much for the Mounties as five Golden Rams scored in double-figures, led by Jackson Hyland’s 19 points. Hyland also corralled 10 rebounds, notching his second double-double of the season.
Tyrell Long added 18 points and seven rebounds, Malik Jackson scored 17 points and dished out seven assists, Zach Bare had a well-rounded 16-point, 4-assist, 3-rebound performance and Tim Toro proved to be a key contributor with 12 points and four rebounds.
Hyland, Long, Jackson, Bare and Toro accounted for 82 of the Golden Rams’ 94 points, with the first three of that quadrangle connecting on eight of WCU’s 11 made three-pointers on the afternoon.
West Chester was in cruise-control for most of the afternoon, with Mansfield largest deficit reaching 30. The Golden Rams bested the Mounties in most major statistical categories, with bench points being the only metric Mansfield could secure the upper-hand in.
The Golden Rams won the battle of points in the paint (46-32), points off turnovers (23-18), and second chance points (10-4). West Chester’s bevy of easy buckets gave their shooting percentages a nice boost, as they shot a season-best 60 percent from the field and 58 percent from downtown on the afternoon.
Mansfield was stymied by the Golden Rams’ tough defense, connecting on only 39 percent of their field goal attempts, including a dreadful 22 percent from behind the arc.
One detractor from WCU’s pristine performance would be turnovers, as the Golden Rams committed 19 of them. Although West Chester did manage to make Mansfield cough up the ball 25 times, WCU would like to see a swift cleanup in the turnover aisle.
Prior to Saturday’s victory, West Chester had dropped two consecutive contests, one to Lock Haven University (10-9, 6-9 PSAC) and the other to Kutztown University (16-2, 12-2 PSAC).
Lock Haven marched into Hollinger Field House and did just enough to tilt the game in their favor, ripping off a mammoth 18-0 run at the halfway mark of the second period. WCU was unable to recover from LU’s scoring binge, as Lock Haven’s Amir Hinton exploding for 21 points in the second stanza to earn his team a 88-83 victory.
Hinton finished with 30 points and seven rebounds, as the four WCU players that reached double-figures were not enough to steer the Golden Rams into the winner’s circle.
One of the four double-digit scorers for WCU was Bare, who registered a career-high 27 points, including five made triples. Long (15), Hyland (14) and Jackson (12) were the others to dip in the double-digit pool, but West Chester’s balance could not overcome a top-heavy Lock Haven squad.
West Chester shot a porous 40 percent from the field and 27 percent from three, and this, paired with the huge discrepancy in free-throws (45 for LU compared to 24 for WCU), is what doomed the Golden Rams.
Kutztown University shellacked West Chester 110-85, bringing the Golden Rams’ record away from Hollinger to an abysmal 2-7. The Golden Bears led the game wire-to-wire, and shot a blistery 62 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. Kutztown had four double-digit scorers, with Anthony Lee and Josh Johnson eclipsing the 20-point ledger.
The Golden Bears put an emphasis on attacking the interior and they succeeded, outscoring WCU by 14 points in the paint.
Jackson scored 24 points and dished out five assists, marking the first time since December that he had scored more than 20 points in a game. West Chester will look to avenge this brutal loss in their season finale inside of Hollinger Field House on Saturday, Feb. 25.
West Chester will be looking to rectify their road woes this week as they travel to Bloomsburg University (11-8, 7-8 PSAC) on Wednesday, Feb. 1 to take on the Huskies. WCU will return home on Saturday, Feb. 11 to take on East Stroudsburg University, so be prepared to cheer on your Golden Rams!
Will “B.J.” Boyer is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at WB806695@wcupa.edu.