Behind 17 points from senior forward Rashawd Hatten (Clairton, Pa./Clairton), the Vulcans held off Gannon, 53-50, in the final regular season game at Hamer Hall in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West action Saturday evening.
With the win, the California University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team improves its conference mark to 6-6 and its overall record to 13-11. Meanwhile, Gannon drops to 13-11 overall and 4-8 in the league this year. The Vulcans complete the season sweep of the Golden Knights this year, having won both contests by a combined five points.
Hatten led Cal U with 17 points behind two treys and five-of-six from the free-throw line. The 6-7 senior also pulled down seven rebounds (three offensive), collected five steals and recorded two blocks. Junior forward Steve Swiech (Greenock, Pa./Elizabeth-Forward) added 12 points off the bench on 6-of-10 from the field and classmates CJ Townes (Joppatowne, Md./Joppatowne) and Chad Tipton (Hanover, Pa./South Western) contributed nine and eight points, respectively.
An early dunk by Hatten gave Cal U the lead, 2-0, before Gannon used an 8-2 run to take an 8-4 lead just over six minutes in to the game. Two Townes’ free-throws gave the Vulcans the lead back, 16-15, at the 7:19-mark before Cal U out-scored Gannon, 10-6, over the next six minutes to take a five-point lead, 26-21. Gannon freshman Kelvin Agee hit four free-throws with under a minute left in the first half to send the teams into the locker room with the Vulcans leading, 26-25.
Cal U used an 11-6 spurt to start the second half to stretch its lead to a game-high six points, 37-31, on a Townes’ layup with 14:14 remaining in the game. Gannon used an 8-2 run to tie the game at 39-39 with 10:28 remaining on a layup by freshman Stephen Battle. After a hook-shot from Swiech tied the game at 47-47 at the 2:47-mark, a Tipton put-back gave Cal U the lead, 49-47, with 1:56 remaining. Behind four made free-throws in the final 1:17, the Vulcans secured the victory, 53-50.
Despite being out-rebounded by 10, 42-32, Cal U out-scored Gannon in the paint, 28-10, and in second-chance points, 9-7. The Vulcans forced the Golden Knights into 17 turnovers, while committing just seven turnovers. The seven turnovers represent the lowest total for Cal U since committing six turnovers in a win against Mercyhurst on Feb. 28, 2009.
Agee led the Golden Knights with 13 points behind seven-of-nine free-throws. Junior Anthony Clagett added nine points and senior Travis Brannen added seven points, seven rebounds and six assists in the loss.
The Vulcans will wrap-up the regular season with two road games with the first coming Wednesday, Feb. 23, against Clarion at 7:30 p.m.
Women’s Hoops: Vulcans close Hamer Hall with win
Senior forward Kayla Smith (Elkins, W.Va./Elkins) recorded her 61st career double-double as the Vulcans closed out Hamer Hall with a 71-62 win over Gannon in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West play on Saturday afternoon.
The California University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team completes the season sweep of the Golden Knights and improves to 18-6 overall and 9-3 in league play. Gannon drops to 11-13 this season and 3-9 in the conference.
Smith led four Vulcans in double-figures, scoring 15 points on five-of-eight from the field and five-of-six from the free-throw line to move into a tie for 12th place all-time in PSAC scoring with 1,976 career points. The Cal U all-time leading rebounder also pulled down 12 rebounds (six offensive) to move into sole possession of fourth place in PSAC history with 1,217 rebounds. She also collected five steals and three assists in the win.
Sophomore Megan Kermond (Adelaide, Australia/Unley) came off the bench to record a career-high 15 points behind a career-best four treys. Freshman Elena Antonenko (Moscow, Russia/State University of Physical Education) scored 11 points off the bench on a perfect five-of-five from the floor and sophomore Stephanie Michael (Morgantown, W.Va./Morgantown) added 10 points.
After Gannon senior Julie Kleber hit a three-pointer at the 12:00-mark to cut the Cal U lead to 16-12, the Vulcans went on a 10-0 run over the next 2:22, capped off by a Michael trey with 9:38 left in the first half to stretch the margin to 14 points, 26-12. With 5:32 left to play in the first half, freshman guard Ryah Gadson (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) hit a three-pointer to give the Vulcans their largest lead of the game at 15 points, 33-18. With 58 seconds remaining before the break, Gannon cut the Cal U lead to 10 points, 38-28, on a layup by sophomore Kelsey McCoy before a Kermond three-pointer with 47 seconds remaining sent the Vulcans into halftime with a 41-28 lead.
After Michael started the second half with a jumper, the Golden Knights went on a 6-0 run to cut the Vulcan lead to nine points, 43-34, on a McCoy layup at the 15:06-mark. Gannon pulled within seven points, 65-58, with 2:44 remaining in the game on a Kleber layup, but the Vulcans closed out the game behind three free-throws and a Kermond trey to seal the victory.
Cal U held a plus-six rebounding advantage, 41-35, despite being out-scored in the paint, 30-20. The Vulcans recorded an impressive 22 assists on 25 field goals with freshman point guard Kate Seebohm (Millicent, Australia/Millicent) tallying a game- and career-high nine assists. Behind the performances by Kermond and Antonenko, the Vulcans’ bench out-scored the Golden Knights’ bench, 36-18.
Gannon’s Kleber led all scorers in the game with 17 points while sophomore Jessie Tamerlano added 14 points and eight rebounds. McCoy contributed eight points and five rebounds off the bench.
The Vulcans will close out the regular season with two games on the road, the first of which is Wednesday, Feb. 23, when they travel to Clarion for a 6 p.m. match-up.
Notes: At halftime, the Vulcans honored Cris Winter (’84) with the Alumnus of the Year Award. Winter completed her degree from Cal U in Radio & TV Speech Communications and has served as the public address announcer for the Vulcans for the past three seasons and is a member of the Fastbreak Club. She has worked in Pittsburgh radio for 25-plus years and can currently be heard mid-days on WISH 99.7.