The West Chester University men’s basketball team (9-12, 7-9 PSAC East) saw their road record on the season drop to 2-8 as they fell to Kutztown University (12-9, 8-9 PSAC) 73-83 inside of Nelson Field House on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
WCU dropped the season series 0-2 to the Huskies after coming up victorious in the two-game tilt last season.
The Huskies reeled off a 28-8 run during 10 minutes near the beginning of the second half, and they never looked back. Bloomsburg touted their largest lead of the game (22 points), and West Chester’s inability to muster up any offense prevented them from climbing back into things.
It was almost a wire-to-wire victory for Bloomsburg, who led for all but 59 seconds of the game.
West Chester had four players in double-figures, but shot a lowly 39.4 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from downtown. Tyrell Long finished with 19 points, Zach Bare netted 18, and Jackson Hyland and Malik Jackson both scored 13.
Long also tied a career-high for rebounds in a single game with 16, and Hyland notched his second consecutive double-double with his 10 rebounds.
Aside from those players, the remainder of the Golden Rams’ roster combined to shoot 3-15 from the field, pinning a huge offensive burden on their core four against a stout Huskies defense.
West Chester’s inability to fend off Bloomsburg’s huge offensive onslaught is what doomed them, and the Huskies were led by Christian Mortellite’s 30 points. Although his shooting efficiency was modest (7-17 from the field, 5-15 from behind the arc), he remained the aggressor and the engine to BU’s offensive attack as he tallied 11 free throws and connected on each attempt.
Yahmir Greenlee dropped 23 points and four assists to complement Mortellite’s 30, with Carnell McGirt (12 points) and Kyle-Michael Rose (10 points) rounding out the Huskies’ double-digit scorers.
Bloomsburg shot 43.6 percent from the field but attempted 39 free throws compared to WCU’s 18. This discrepancy proved to be one of huge significance and something that the Golden Rams couldn’t overcome, despite the fact that they bested the Huskies in most metrics.
West Chester won points in the paint battle (34-30), points off turnovers (20-15) and rebounds (43-36). WCU snagged 18 offensive rebounds but only managed to score seven second chance points, making for a poor conversion rate on secondary possessions.
The Golden Rams could’ve used those points, but the Huskies’ defense did a great job of regrouping defensively.
WCU’s 22 turnovers also did not help, an area that has continued to be a troubled one this season.
West Chester has six games left on the year, with half coming at home and the other half on the road. WCU will be pitted against the lowly Cheyney University, who is 2-20 on the season. The Golden Rams return home this Saturday, Feb. 11 to square-off against the East Stroudsburg Warriors (16-6, 14-3).
West Chester fell to ESU 82-98 earlier this year, so the Golden Rams will be seeking revenge and look to get back on track after their loss to the Huskies. WCU is 9-0 against Cheyney since 2013-14, and they hope to continue to assert themselves against the Wolves and sweep the season series for the fourth year in a row.
WCU is currently pegged in at fifth in the PSAC East, so they can’t afford many losses down the stretch of the season if they hope to clinch a conference tournament berth. The Golden Rams are going to need all of the support they can get, so be sure to monitor the schedule and see when they’ll be playing in Hollinger Field House so the team can hear the students roar.
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.