Elijah Allen pictured. Photo credits: wcupagoldenrams.com
West Chester University’s men’s basketball team is in the midst of another successful campaign. The team currently holds a 15–9 record and they are riding an impressive six game home winning streak, in which they have outscored their opponents by a combined 135 points. This is the team’s fourth consecutive winning season, and twelfth in the last thirteen years.
This past week, the Golden Rams played host to two conference opponents — Shippensburg and Kutztown. In a hotly contested back and forth game that came down to the final possession on Monday night, West Chester edged out Shippensburg by a final score of 71–70. They followed up this performance with a dominating 104–77 thrashing of Kutztown on Wednesday. Both of these victories were key as the Golden Rams look to gain ground in the PSAC division standings.
Currently, West Chester holds the fourth spot in the PSAC East standings. While the team has already clinched a spot in the conference tournament, seeding is still to be determined and the opportunity for a top three seed is still available. West Chester is currently behind Millersville, East Stroudsburg and Shippensburg in the standings, with the latter two only several games ahead. Gaining ground in the standings would be a huge advantage for the Golden Rams as they would have a longer home court advantage, and a better path towards winning the division championship.
Robert Smith, a freshman guard from Philadelphia, leads the Golden Rams in scoring with an average of 14.7 points per game while shooting an impressive 49% from three-point territory. Right behind Smith in scoring is sophomore guard Matt Dade, who averages 14.1 points while also leading the team in rebounds with 8.6 rebounds per game. This impressive backcourt tandem, combined with a frontcourt consisting of players such as Josh Samec and Jamil Manigo, has the Golden Rams playing at a high level and with some serious contest down the stretch.
For the second straight season, West Chester boasts the highest scoring offensive unit in the league. Averaging 84.5 points per game, they have a 1.5 point advantage over California University of Pennsylvania, who is the second leading offense in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
The Golden Rams have also been very efficient at the charity stripe, shooting 75%from the free throw line. This shows that the team is disciplined and does not fold under pressure, which will come in handy as they look to make a playoff run.
Looking ahead, West Chester has two games this week as the regular season comes to a close. Both games are critical as they travel to Millersville on Wednesday and return home for a matchup with East Stroudsburg on Saturday, both of whom are ahead of the Golden Rams in the conference standings.
Following these contests, the team will then prepare for the PSAC conference tournament, which is scheduled to begin in early March. For more information on the Golden Rams and to follow them on their playoff run, visit the West Chester Golden Rams athletic website.
Erick Klambara is a third-year Media & Culture major with a minor in Journalism. EK924666@wcupa.edu