MILLERSVILLE, Pa. (Jan 4) ‚Äì In a rematch of last season‚Äôs NCAA East Regional Championship, the California University of Pennsylvania men‚Äôs basketball team suffered a 71-65 loss against Millersville University on Sunday in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Crossover game at the Pucillo Gymnasium.
After losing three-straight games for the first time since the 2004-05 season, the Vulcans fall to 4-5 this season. Meanwhile, the Marauders snapped a three-game skid and move to 5-6 on the year.
Junior guard Jerial
Nixon (Lorain, Ohio/Lorain Admiral King) led Cal U in scoring with 15 points on five-of-eight attempts, including a pair of three-pointers. Senior forward Julian Logan (Kalamazoo, Mich./Loy Norrix) and graduate student forward Samba Fall (Dakar, Senegal (Africa)/Jean DeLafontaine) each added nine points. Logan led the team with nine rebounds (five offensive).
Senior guard Kenny Johnson
(Beaver Falls, Pa./Beaver Falls), who led all players with five steals, and freshman guard Chad Tipton (Hanover, Pa./South Western), who made his first career start, each finished with seven points.
In the first half, Millersville held a 25-16 lead before Cal U mounted an 11-4 rally to cut the deficit to 29-27 following a three-pointer and lay-up by Tipton with 2:17 left before halftime. The Marauders then responded with an 8-2 run to enter halftime with a 37-29 lead after shooting 56.5 percent (13-of-23) in the first half.
The Marauders scored six-unanswered points early in the second half to take a 12-point lead, 43-31, with 17:56 left in the game. The Vulcans countered with a 14-4 rally over an eight-minute stretch to trim the deficit to only two points, 47-45, with 9:42 remaining. During the run, the Cal U defense forced eight turnovers and Johnson and freshman forward Kelsey Williams
(Sandusky, Ohio/Sandusky) combined for nine points.
The Vulcans trimmed the lead to one point, 53-52, on a lay-up by Nixon with 5:06 left in the game. The Marauders then scored seven of the next eight points to regain control of the game and take a 60-53 lead before holding a double-digit lead, 67-57, with 38 seconds remaining. A three-pointer by Nixon with nine seconds remaining made the score 71-65, but Cal U would not get any closer as it missed its final two last-second shots.
For the game, Cal U shot 42.4 percent (25-of-59) from the floor and 31.3 percent (5-of-16) from beyond the arc. In comparison, Millersville made 51.1 percent (24-of-47) of its shots. The Marauders took advantage of frequent trips to the free-throw line, shooting 76.0 percent (19-of-25) from the charity stripe. Millersville was led by senior swingman Reggie Bates, who scored a game-high 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Senior Makal Stibbins and sophomore Rob Coney each finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Vulcans return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 7, when they host Lake Erie College for an 8 p.m. contest at Hamer Hall. Earlier this year, the Storm posted a 50-46 victory over Cal U in the season-opener.