Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

Caption:Men’s Basketball Coach Damien Blair pictured here discussing with a referee. He is now the only coach to reach 200 career wins besides Dick Delaney, who is all alone at the top with 370 wins. 

Image courtesy of Tyler Jefferson.

Saturday’s win for West Chester men’s basketball team was a great day for the program. Their 85-67 victory over PSAC rival Kutztown extended their winning streak to 13 games to tie a program record for longest winning streak. The team also remained unbeaten at home and stands as the only team in the PSAC to have a perfect home record.

Coach Damien Blair achieved a milestone that has only been accomplished by WCU Hall of Fame Dick Delaney. The victory gave him his 200th career win for the Golden Rams. Blair now just stands behind Delaney who holds the record with 370 wins.

“I was telling one of the players when they congratulate me, they’re not my wins. I have been here 10 years and there have been some big players to win some big games. It’s a combination of all those wins together and I’m just happy I’ve been able to coach these guys,” Coach Blair had to say in a post-game interview after reaching the 200-win milestone.

Led by four double digit scorers, West Chester jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. After gaining a double-digit advantage, the Golden Rams were able to control the lead for the remainder of the game. The Golden Bears of Kutztown were able to cut the lead to four at some point late in the first half, but West Chester’s star power proved to be too much. 

Junior Guard Malik Jackson led the game in scoring with 19 points on an impressive 54% shooting. Seniors Frank Rokins and Matt Penecale both managed to fill up the stat sheet in the win. Rokins tied a season-high 17 points to go with eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Penecale continued to run the show as he put 13 points, six assists and six rebounds. Sophomore Evan-Eric Longino contributed 12 points in the victory

Prior to the game, team captain Matt Penecale was acknowledged for his stellar accomplishment during his senior season so far. Penecale was presented with two celebratory basketballs to honor him becoming the program’s all-time assists leader, and for him scoring his 1,000th career point.

“He’s a phenomenal kid, just as a player as he is a student. When he got hurt in the beginning of the year, we struggled. Now that we have him back, kids are playing well together. He’s what makes us go,” Coach Blair said about the star point guard. 

The Golden Rams will look to remain undefeated at home on Wednesday, February 13th, when Mansfield University visits. The win will also extend the team’s streak to 14 games to give them the longest winning streak in program history. Wednesday night is scheduled for 7:30pm tip-off at Hollinger Field House. 

Coach Blair on what it will take to finish out the remainder of the season strong: “We have to stay focused. That has been our number one thing this whole season. We have to limit our distractions, play as hard as we possibly can and make as many plays in every contest we can possibly make.”

Tyler Jefferson is a third-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism.

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