Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Huskies Men's Basketball Come From Behind To Stun #23 West Chester, 98-90

Men's Basketball | Box Score
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. - The Bloomsburg University men's basketball team just would not go away on Monday night.
The Huskies trailed, 23-8, in the opening eight minutes and then trailed by 14 points, 71-57, with 13:38 left in regulation before rallying for a stunning 98-90 victory over 23rd-ranked West Chester University at the Nelson Field House to hand the Golden Rams their first loss of the season. Bloomsburg has now won two straight, and four of its last five games, to improve to 8-5 overall and 4-5 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division standings. West Chester dropped to 12-1 overall and 8-1 in league play.

Redshirt senior Christian Mortellite (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton) poured in a game-high 29 points - 21 in the second half - and his fifth three-pointer of the game with 3:18 left in regulation gave the Huskies an 83-80 lead - an advantage they would not relinquish. The lead was Bloomsburg's first since a 2-0 margin after senior Kyle-Michael Rose (Middletown, Del./Sanford School) scored the first points of the game just over a minute into the contest. Mortellite shot 7-of-12 from the field (6-of-7 in the second half), 5-of-9 from long distance (4-of-4 in the second half), and 10-of-10 from the free throw line. His 29 points moved him into second place on the school's all-time scoring list as he passed Jerry Radocha (1973-77) with 1,780 career points. He now trails only Mike Ellzy (1993-97) to become the school's all-time leading scorer. Ellzy finished his career with 1,911 points.

Sophomore Khary Mauras (Reading, Pa./Reading) added 20 points and a career-high eight assists. His biggest shot of the game came when he banked in a triple from nearly 30 feet out, with the shot clock winding down, to tie the game at 80-80 with 3:46 left in regulation. Graduate student Hashim Moore (Sunrise, Fla./Hun School) chipped in with 15 points while Rose added 13 points and a game-high three blocks - none bigger than a stuff at the rim on West Chester's Jackson Hyland with the Huskies leading by three with three minutes left. Freshman Matthew Kachelries (Macungie, Pa./Emmaus) got in on the block party as well with a huge rejection on West Chester's Matt Penecale with 1:35 left and the Huskies ahead by six.

Things started inauspiciously for the Huskies at the outset as West Chester jumped out to a 23-8 lead with 12:38 left in the opening half. The visitors built the advantage to as many as 16 points later in the half and led 36-21 with 6:48 left in the first stanza before Bloomsburg mounted its first rally of the night. The Huskies used a 13-2 run to cut the West Chester advantage to 38-34 with three minutes remaining. During the spurt, Mortellite, who had been scoreless up to that point, led the way with six points including a four-point play to cut the lead to single-digits.

The Golden Rams extended the lead back to seven, 43-36, with 2:05 left before the Huskies scored the final six points of the half to give West Chester a one-point lead at the break.

West Chester continued to hold a slim lead at the start of the second half before growing the advantage to as many as 14 points, 71-57, with 13:38 left in regulation. However, West Chester's Steve Smith, who nailed a triple to get the lead to 14, was whistled for a technical foul after making the shot which ignited the Huskies. Mortellite hit both technical foul shots and then made two more on the Huskies' possession and all of a sudden, the lead was trimmed to ten, 71-61, with 13:11 left.

Bloomsburg continued to chip away and went on an 8-1 run to cut the West Chester advantage to 72-69 with 9:11 remaining. Moore led the way with four points during the mini-spurt while sophomore Austin Harriott (Philadelphia, Pa./Hun School) and freshman Myles Bunyon (Collegeville, Pa./Valley Forge Military Academy)added two points apiece.

The visitors, again, worked the lead back up to seven, 78-71, with seven minutes left. But, the resilient Huskies turned the seven-point deficit into a six-point lead over a four-and-a-half-minute span with a 15-2 run to take an 86-80 lead with 2:36 left. Redshirt sophomore Sam Saxton (York, Pa./Central York), who chipped in with nine points, started the rally with a three-pointer to trim the lead to 78-74. Rose went 1-of-2 at the foul line and Mauras hit a jumper to get the West Chester lead to one, 78-77. After a pair of foul shots from Penecale, Mauras' banked triple and Mortellite's go-ahead three gave the Huskies an 83-80 advantage. Then, on Bloomsburg's next possession, the Golden Rams nearly came away with a steal. But, Mortellite picked up the loose ball and hoisted a three-pointer that splashed through the net for Bloomsburg's largest lead of the night.

The teams exchanged baskets down the stretch with the Golden Rams cutting the lead to four, 92-88, with 1:03 left. But, the Huskies went on a 6-0 run to ice the contest with Kachelries sinking a pair of huge foul shots with 25 seconds left to seal the deal.

West Chester came into the contest allowing only 68.0 points per game to its opponents - third in the PSAC. However, the Huskies torched the defense for 98 points on Monday - two days after dropping 110 points against visiting Cheyney. Bloomsburg shot 19-of-31 (61.3%) in the second half and finished 33-of-62 (53.2%) for the game. The Huskies also went 6-of-9 from deep in the second half after going just 2-of-12 in the opening twenty minutes. Bloomsburg also had a solid night at the line, going 24-of-28 (85.7%) from the stripe. The Golden Rams, meanwhile, shot 30-of-60 from the field and 14-of-28 from long range. West Chester was also nearly perfect from the free-throw line as it went 16-of-17 (94.1%). Hyland and Tyrell Long led West Chester with 18 points apiece while Penecale chipped in 15.

West Chester held a 31-26 edge in rebounding but turned the ball over 21 times to the Huskies while Bloomsburg committed just 11 miscues on the night.

Bloomsburg will look to stay hot on Wednesday night, January 10, when it heads to Millersville University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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