Monday, February 26, 2018

Huskies Men's Basketball Ends Season With 93-79 Loss In PSAC First Round At Kutztown Monday

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KUTZTOWN, Pa. - The Bloomsburg University men's basketball team saw its season come to an end on Monday night as it dropped a 93-79 decision at Kutztown University in the opening round of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament. The Huskies conclude their season with a 15-12 overall record while the Golden Bears advance to play at top-seeded East Stroudsburg University on Wednesday with a 21-6 mark.

Even the game's best shooters have an off night and, unfortunately for the Huskies, the most prolific scorer in program history, redshirt senior Christian Mortellite (Hammonton, N.J./Hammonton), just couldn't get his shot to fall on Monday night in what proved to be his final collegiate game. He finished the night shooting 3-of-17 from the field and made only 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. Mortellite scored 11 points as he wrapped up his career with 2,037 career points - tops in program history and ninth all-time in PSAC history. His 314 career three-pointers is also most in school history and tied for sixth in conference history.

While Mortellite struggled on Monday night, fellow senior Kyle-Michael Rose (Middletown, Del./Sanford School) did not as he led the Huskies with a career-high 25 points on 10-of-15 from the field. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in what was also his final collegiate game. Rose's previous career-high was 22 points, at home, against Edinboro University on January 9, 2017. He blocked one shot and closed out his collegiate career with 135 career blocks - second on the school's all-time list.

Bloomsburg's other senior, Hashim Moore (Sunrise, Fla./Hun School), had only four points and three rebounds as he was plagued with foul trouble for much of the night.

Sophomores Khary Mauras (Reading, Pa./Reading) and Austin Harriott (Philadelphia, Pa./Hun School) joined Rose and Mortellite in double figures. Mauras finished with 18 points while Harriott had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

The first half was close early as the Huskies jumped out to a 6-5 lead before the Golden Bears scored six consecutive points to take an 11-6 advantage with 16:01 left in the opening half. Bloomsburg countered with a 9-0 run of its own - getting four points each from Rose and Mauras - to jump in front, 14-11, with 14:32 remaining. The teams exchanged baskets over the next four minutes and, after Kutztown got a layup from Rafiq Marshall with 10:36 left, the game was tied at 22-22.

That's when the Golden Bears turned on the jets.

Kutztown used a 17-3 run over the course of the next six minutes and when Anthony Lee jammed home an outlet pass from Ethan Ridgeway, the Golden Bears had a 39-25 advantage with 4:33 left in the opening half.

The visitors, however, would not go away despite Rose and Moore on the bench in foul trouble and Mortellite struggling to find his shot. Mauras converted back-to-back layups and then a three-point play from Harriott pulled the Huskies to within 43-32. The Huskies kept coming as Darius Robinson-Wallace (Philadelphia, Pa./Delaware Valley Charter) hit a layup and then Mortellite finally got a triple to fall and, with just 1:05 left, the Huskies trailed by only six, 43-37.

Marshall struck back with a three-pointer to extend the lead to nine, 46-37, and Mauras countered with a foul shot at the other end and the Golden Bears went into the break leading 46-38.

Rose, who scored Bloomsburg's first eight points of the second half, hit back-to-back jumpers right after intermission to pull the Huskies to within 46-42. The Huskies kept chipping away and got the lead down to one, 52-51, after a layup by Harriott with 15:08 left. Kutztown's Facundo Arens answered with a layup at the other end before Mortellite hit a baseline jumper on the Huskies' next possession to, again, trim the lead to one at 54-53 with 14:15 left.

However, the Huskies could not get a shot to fall to tie the game or take the lead and the Golden Bears made them pay. Kutztown went on a 12-4 run over the next five minutes and, after Anthony Lee nailed a jumper with 9:27 left, Kutztown led 66-57 and never looked back. The Golden Bears kept extending the lead from that point and built the lead to as many as 16 points late in the second half before settling for the 14-point victory.

Bloomsburg shot 30-of-68 (44.1%) from the field but made only 3-of-17 (17.6%) from beyond the arc. The Huskies did outrebound the Golden Bears, 34-31, and committed fewer turnovers, 14-13, but Kutztown shot 32-of-52 (61.5%) from the field and hit 9-of-15 (60.0%) from long range.

Lee led the Golden Bears with 23 points while Moe Williams (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Ethan Ridgeway (14 points, 12 assists) both had double-doubles.

The Huskies conclude the 2017-18 season with a 15-12 overall record. It marked the third straight year, and sixth time in the last seven seasons, that the Huskies earned a postseason berth.

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