By Ronald Hanaki
In a tightly contested game that the Warriors led by as many as 17 points, the Kutztown University Golden Bears outlasted ESU’s men’s basketball team 90-83 at Keystone Arena last Saturday afternoon.
Senior guard Jamal Nwaniemeka and junior forward Rasheed Moore both scored 16 points to lead ESU.
Junior forward and communications studies scholar Steve Harris posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Freshman point guard Najee Walls had 11 points and six assists, and redshirt junior guard Quindell Brice scored 10 points to complete a balanced scoring attack for the Warriors.
Prior to the start of the game, Kutztown junior forward Josh Johnson was honored on the court for having scored over 1,000 points in his collegiate career.
The game started out well for ESU.
By the middle of the first quarter, the Warriors had staked themselves out to an early 10-point lead.
ESU would continue to make baskets and led by as many as 17 points before the end of the first half.
The Golden Bears would slowly climb back into the game, but the Warriors held onto a 47-38 lead at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, the Warriors found themselves with a 14-point lead over the Golden Bears. It was at this point in the game that Kutztown began to mount a comeback.
Kutztown’s Johnson made the second of his two free throws to tie the game at 75-75 with five and a half minutes to go.
The game was tied 79-79 with just under three minutes left, but Kutztown went on an 11-4 run to close out the Warriors.
Kutztown redshirt junior forward Ryan Connolly had 19 points including the last nine points of the game within the final minute to cap a hard-fought PSAC victory for the Golden Bears.
The difference in this game was the bench points. Kutztown sophomore guard Ethan Ridgeway came off the bench and a one-game suspension to score 20 points. In total, Kutztown’s bench outscored ESU’s bench 36-25.
With the win, Kutztown remains tied for first place with West Chester in the PSAC East.
ESU is current tied for third place with Bloomsburg in the PSAC East and two games behind PSAC East co-leaders West Chester and Kutztown with three games left to play.
ESU is still on track to host a first-round game in the postseason PSAC Tournament beginning on Feb. 27.
The Warriors played Mansfield on Wednesday night. Mansfield is currently in seventh place in the PSAC East.
ESU will play Lock Haven at Koehler Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors will end their regular season on the road against Millersville on Feb. 24.
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