SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (Feb. 24) – The California University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team continued its last-season roll by claiming a 72-64 victory with five players scoring in double figures at Slippery Rock on Wednesday night in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West action.
The Vulcans have won six of their last seven games to improve to 18-10 overall this season with one game left in the regular season. Cal U also holds a 6-7 record in league play and is one game behind of both Gannon and Mercyhurst for third place in the PSAC West standings. With the Vulcans closing the regular season against the Lakers, there could be a three-way tie for third place in the division prior to the start of the conference tournament.
Sophomore forward Kelsey Williams (Sandusky, Ohio/Sandusky) led the team in scoring for the sixth time this season with 14 points on 7-of-14 attempts from the floor. He also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and collected two assists and two blocks in the win.
Classmate Chad Tipton (Hanover, Pa./South Western) finished with a season- and career-high 13 points after making seven-of-eight free-throw attempts. Junior forwards Andrew Young (Philadelphia, Pa./Cheltenham) and Rashawd Hatten (Clairton, Pa./Clairton) posted 12 and 11 points, respectively, while junior guard Joe Berenato (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic) added 10 points off the bench.
Leading 41-37 early in the second half, the Vulcans mounted a 17-5 rally over a span of nine-plus minutes to claim a 58-42 lead with 6:51 remaining. During the run, Slippery Rock made only 1-of-15 shot attempts from the floor. The Rock cut the deficit to seven points, 68-61, with 40 seconds left before Berenato made a pair of free-throws to seal the win.
Cal U finished the game shooting 44.8 percent (26-of-58) from the floor and 81.8 percent (18-of-22) from the free-throw line. The Vulcans posted their third-best performance from the charity stripe of the season and their best since Dec. 30. In the loss, The Rock made 31.8 percent (21-of-66) of their shots from the field and 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the free-throw line.
Junior forward Maron Brown posted a double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds (six offensive), while senior guard Bryen Spriggs finished with 15 points off the bench.
The Vulcans were out-rebounded by a 44-35 margin, but scored 38 points from inside the paint. Cal U committed only 14 turnovers in the win and scored 17 points off turnovers.
Cal U closes its regular season on Saturday, Feb. 27, when it travels to Erie, Pa., to face Mercyhurst at 3 p.m. The Lakers have two of the three meetings since joining the PSAC, including a 61-60 victory earlier this season.