Saturday, December 9, 2017

Men's Basketball - Huskies Holds Off Clarion, 83-80, For First PSAC Win Of Season Saturday

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. - The Bloomsburg University men's basketball team got 22 points from redshirt senior Christian Mortellite(Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) and 20 points from senior Kyle-Michael Rose (Middletown, Del./Sanford School) as the Huskies held off pesky Clarion University, 83-80, on Saturday afternoon at the Nelson Field House. With the victory, Bloomsburg picked up its first league win of the season as it improved to 5-4 overall and 1-4 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division standings. The Golden Eagles dropped to 2-8 overall and 0-5 in the PSAC Western Division.

Mortellite struggled with his shot for much of the afternoon but still managed to post his sixth 20-point effort of the season. He finished 9-of-21 from the field but made only 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. Mortellite added a team-high eight rebounds and also chipped in three assists and a pair of steals. Rose, meanwhile, shot 7-of-12 from the floor and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line en route to a season-high 20 points. The senior added five rebounds and blocked three shots. Sophomore Khary Mauras (Reading, Pa./Reading) was also in double figures for the Huskies as he finished with 14 points and a career-high seven assists.

The trio offset a monster performance from Clarion's Kyheim Hall who finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort for the Golden Eagles.

Clarion's Cameron Grumley scored the first points of the game on a layup 30 seconds into the contest but, after Rose jammed home a dunk on the Huskies' next possession, Bloomsburg tied the game at 2-2 and never trailed from that point on. The teams exchanged baskets over the next five minutes and found themselves tied at 11-11 with 13:54 left in the first half. However, the hosts went on a 14-5 run over the next four minutes and took a 25-16 lead with exactly ten minutes left in the opening half after redshirt freshman Peyton Mortellite (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) knocked down a triple.

The visitors battled back to pull within two, 27-25, with 8:02 left but the Huskies went on another spurt - this time a 10-0 run - to build up their largest lead, 37-25, with 3:46 left. Sophomore Austin Harriott (Philadelphia, Pa./Hun School) scored the first six points of the run while Christian Mortellite (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) and Mauras added two points apiece. But, Clarion ended the half by outscoring Bloomsburg, 15-7, and the Huskies held a 44-40 lead at the break.

Clarion continued to chip away and eventually tied the game at 50-50 with 17:02 left in regulation before the Huskies, again, went on a little run to take a 60-52 advantage with 12:40 remaining. Mauras had six points during the 10-2 spurt. Bloomsburg built the lead to as many as ten points, 67-57, with 10:29 left after Christian Mortellite (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) knocked down a jumper. But, the pesky Golden Eagles again began to chip away and pulled to within two, 76-74, with 4:20 left in regulation. Rose converted a pair of free throws before Clarion's Kyheim Hall hit both foul shots on the other end to keep the game a two-point Bloomsburg lead, 78-76, with 3:24 left in regulation. Freshman Matthew Kachelries (Macungie, Pa./Emmaus)scored after a goaltending call went against Clarion and then graduate student Hashim Moore (Sunrise, Fla./Hun School) hit 1-of-2 from the line to give the Huskies an 81-76 led with 1:34 remaining.

After Hall hit two more foul shots for Clarion, the Huskies had a chance to extend the lead with their best foul shooter, Christian Mortellite (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton), at the line with 60 seconds left. Mortellite, who was 36-of-37 from the stripe, missed both free throws to keep it at a one-possession game. Then, after a missed triple by Grumley which would have tied the game, Kachelries missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to keep the Huskies' lead at three points. Grumley knocked down a baseline jumper to pull Clarion to within one, 81-80, with 38 seconds left. The Golden Eagles were given another opportunity after an offensive foul was called on Harriott with 28 seconds left, but Clarion turned the ball over on its possession and Mauras hit two free throws with six seconds left to extend the lead to 83-80. Grumley had a decent look at a corner three-pointer with just under three seconds left following a Clarion timeout, but the shot came up short and the Huskies escaped with the win.

Bloomsburg shot 30-of-70 from the field (42.9%) but hit a season-low four three-pointers on 22 attempts (18.2%) on the afternoon. The Huskies, despite three miscues in the closing minute, finished 19-of-25 from the foul line (76.0%). Bloomsburg held a slim, 41-38, advantage on the boards with the Huskies pulling down 18 offensive rebounds. Moore added nine points and seven rebounds to aid the Huskies' trio in double figures. Clarion, meanwhile, shot 27-of-63 from the field (42.9%) but made 10-of-24 from beyond the arc (41.7%) and hit 16-of-18 from the stripe (88.9%).

Three other Golden Eagles joined Hall in double digits - Grumley (18), Zayver Craft (12), and Mason Mraz (11).

Bloomsburg will have three weeks off before playing its first inter-divisional contest of the year. The Huskies will travel to Lock Haven to take on the Bald Eagles on Saturday, December 30. Tip-off is at 4:00 p.m.

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