Bald Eagles defeat 12th-ranked WCU
LOCK HAVEN — Fresh from a road win over Shepherd last weekend, the Lock Haven University men’s basketball team returned home hoping that the momentum would carry over to Wednesday night in a PSAC-East battle with nationally ranked West Chester.
Hoping for the win, LHU coach Nestor knew it would be a tough assignment for his club as the Rams entered the game with an outstanding 14-1 record.
When the issue was decided in a high-speed, physical game, the Bald Eagles walked off the floor with a 89-84 signature win over the 12th ranked West Chester Golden Rams.
“We are hitting adversity without ever realizing it,” said LHU coach Mike Nestor. “We have had several key pieces to the puzzle out for a while and it is sometimes difficult to put them back in. The one thing I know is that tonight Nasir Campbell played with an insane amount of energy, especially in the first half. He has to learn to control his emotions and Jihad (Barnes) has been here for a couple of years now and I know he is going to do what I ask him to do. Those guys brought it and another big factor is that it was West Chester and a lot of these guys know each other plus it was a ranked team. We haven’t produced like we should have in different situations, but tonight the energy was definitely there. When that happens, it makes it easy to coach that, fun to coach that and you get excited about it.”
Trailing from the get go, the Bald Eagles battled and scrapped to take their first lead in the game at 15-14 eight minutes into the opening period.
Playing with a lot of intensity on both ends of the floor, the Bald Eagles took a five-point lead (25-20) with eight minutes remaining in the first period before the Golden Rams fought back to take a one-point lead (37-36) at the break.
One of the big keys to the LHU success in the first half was in rebounding where LHU held a 25-17 advantage off the glass, 15-13 off the offensive board.
With both teams holding leads at various points of the second half, neither team could break away until the Golden Rams opened up a 75-68 lead with five minutes left in the game.
Seeing the opportunity to win the game, the Bald Eagles put together a 12-0 run and took care of business on their way to the 89-84 signature win.
The Bald Eagles were led by their big three of Christian Kelly with 27, Matt Cerruti with 21 and Jesse McPherson with 20.
Not only did McPherson spark the offense, he was a force defensively inside with eight boards, one assist and one steal.
“He (McPherson) had 20 (points) and eight (rebounds) and I just like the way he finished. He was under control and he just had a good flow to his game tonight. I am happy for him and he is such an easy kid to coach,” Nestor said.
Not looking ahead or back, Nestor and his troops are looking at it as 1-0. We have won three straight and our hope is that we can go 1-0 today.
LHU 89, West Chester 84
WEST CHESTER (14-2, 8-2 PSAC)
Robbie Heath 6-16 11-13 24; Josh Samec 7-14 2-2 20; Colin Daly 2-3 2-2 7; Malik Slay 2-3 2-2 6; Tim Toro 0-3 0-0 0; Antoine Lewis 4-14 2-2 12; Marcus Littles 4-5 2-2 10; Kyle McGee 1-5 0-0 3; Terrell Jones 1-4 0-0 2; Nick Alikakos 0-1 0-0 0; Matt Dade 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-68 21-23 84.
LOCK HAVEN (7-7, 4-6 PSAC)
Christian Kelly 10-16 4-4 27; Matt Cerruti 7-9 5-6 21; Jesse McPherson 8-12 4-9 20; Eli Washington 3-8 0-0 7; Trevor Lecuona 1-5 0-0 3; Khaleeq Campbell 2-5 0-0 6; Jihad Barnes 1-1 0-0 3; Mark Anthony Fidelis 1-3 0-0 2; Nasir Campbell 0-2 0-3 0. Totals 33-61 13-22 89.
Halftime: WCU, 37-36. 3-point goals: WCU 9-29 (Samec 4-7; Lewis 2-10; McGee 1-3; Heath 1-4; Daly 1-2; Slay 0-1; Jones 0-1), LHU 10-23 (Kelly 3-6; Cerruti 2-4; Campbell 2-4; Washington 1-3; Lecuona 1-3; Barnes 1-1; Fidelis 0-2). Fouled out: WCU-Toro, LHU-none. Rebounds: WCU 36 (Heath 9), LHU 40 (Kelly 8, McPherson 8). Assists: WCU 16 (Slay 7), LHU 21 (Washington 6). Technical fouls: WCU-none; LHU-Campbell. Total fouls: WCU 20, LHU 18. A: 102.