Photo credits: Tom Silknitter via wcupagoldenrams.com
When West Chester lost to Millersville, this gave the team fuel to regain their winning streak in their final Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East Clash, Saturday, Jan. 28. This grit and determination paid off with a dominant win over Bloomsburg 102-73. When the team was in sync, they were able to command the court and race past the Huskies. But when they are not, the team is disjointed, which proves to be detrimental.
West Chester had a remarkable winning streak, beating the likes of Lock Haven, East Stroudsburg and Shepard. The Golden Rams’ four-game winning streak was tarnished by Millersville. Despite trailing for a large portion of the game, West Chester held a two-point lead with under 10 minutes to play. Unfortunately, Millersville was able to hold off the Golden Rams. With an impressively close 79-72, this left many spectators at the edge of their seats. This win would mark Millersville’s fourth win in a row against West Chester.
West Chester has now won eight of its last ten, and currently sit at 9-5 (14-6 overall), leaving the Rams in sole possession of third place in the PSAC East. This leaves Shippensburg (12-3) in first place, and Millersville (10-5) closely behind in second place.
The team worked hard to get to where they are now. This comes from improvements throughout the season from the team. Joshua Walker, who is a sophomore forward, stated, “I feel like we’re all getting used to the system. Following plays and not messing up as much as we used to. Everyone’s getting used to it.” Asking Walker how he felt about the 14-6 record, he stated, “I feel good. I do a lot. We still have a little way to go before the playoffs.”
West Chester versus Bloomsburg proves to be in West Chester’s favor. With a four-game winning streak against the Huskies and 20 wins out of 30 against them, this would lead many to believe that the Golden Rams will prevail victorious. What many did not know is how quickly the Rams would overcome their rivals.
With over 700 spectators waiting in anticipation, alumni day was ready to commence. This gave West Chester even more reason to take back their winning streak.
Starting off, the Golden Rams took no time to grace a strong lead over the Huskies. In only two minutes, West Chester achieved a strong lead of 12-4. As they continued to work in tandem, guard and sophomore, Kyle McGee, goes for the blocks and rebounds. Moro Osumanu (guard, forward, sophomore) swiftly goes in for the steal leading to a turnover. McGee rebounds and successfully lands the three-pointer. This extends the lead to 24-10. As West Chester dominates, Bloomsburg tries to make a comeback. By sneaking in free throws along with three-pointers, the Huskies try to narrow the deficit. At 27-17 midway through the first half, the Rams continued to hold the lead over Bloomsburg.
In the second half both teams were head-to-head exchanging free throws, three-pointers and rebounds. As West Chester maintained its comfortable 61-40 lead over Bloomsburg, West Chester continued to control the game as the half continued. Although the Rams had an impressive 21 points over Bloomsburg, the second half is where we see less polish and more disjointedness. An altercation occurred between WCU’s Elijah Allen (guard, sophomore) and the Huskies’ Jake Nelson (forward, senior). The two were called for technical fouls, but the Rams leading scorer (guard, sophomore) Robert Smith, was ejected for going onto the court while he was waiting at the scorer’s table to enter the game. Later, Allen and Bloomsburg’s Raphael Castillo (guard, junior) were called for double technical fouls and were ejected from the game.
Although Allen and Smith were ejected from the game, the Rams were able to collect themselves and focus on their goal. Once the team regrouped, they were an unstoppable force against Bloomsburg. Luke Boyd (guard, freshman) came off the bench and finished the first half with nine points as West Chester maintained its lead.
Frontcourt starters like Joshua Walker and Eli Barrett scored 15 and 12, respectively, on a combined 12-for-17 shooting. Most notably, Allen scored 16 and Smith 15 despite missing time at the end. Freshman point guard Anthony Purnell equaled his career-high with 15 points, in addition to seven assists. McGee contributed with nine points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
West Chester reclaimed their victory and were able to come together as a team in the end. When the Golden Rams are out of their heads and working in sync, they are an unstoppable force.
Cherry Kivumbi Ck962992@wcupa.edu