SU men's basketball: Johnson leads Raiders to victory

Redshirt-junior Rashon Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa./Simon Gratz (Highland C.C.)) produced a career-high 29 points Wednesday night to help the Shippensburg University men’s basketball team withstand a furious rally from homestanding Mansfield.

The result: SU withstood the Mountaineers late run to win its eighth straight game. The Raiders defeated the Mounties 85-81 in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division matchup at Decker Gymnasium.

READ: SU sports: Raiders are finalists for Excellence Award

How it happened

Shippensburg (10-3, 7-1 PSAC) led by as many as 17 points in the first half before Mansfield (1-13, 0-8 PSAC) got within four points of the lead with 12 minutes to play. It was a six-point game with seven minutes remaining before the Raiders unleashed a 13-2 run to once again lead by 17 points with 2:49 left.

The Mountaineers, who never held a lead, still trailed by 14 points with 90 seconds left. They proceeded to make all six field-goal attempts down the stretch, including a pair of three-pointers, and forced three SU turnovers to make the final seconds quite interesting.

READ: Ship Raiders: Win Against Division Rival

Inside the box score

In a three-point game, Marcus Friend drew a foul on a three-point attempt with one second left. After making the first free throw, Friend missed the second and then intentionally missed the third. SU converted the ensuing in-bound after the deadball and made two free throws to end the game and win its 11th-in-a-row over Mansfield.

Johnson, who comes off the bench as SU’s “sixth man,” posted his first double-double as a Raider with 11 rebounds in addition to his career-high 29 points. Johnson made 11-of-17 from the field; the 11 field goals are also a career high. His previous best in a single game was 24 points against Neosho County back in 2019 while playing for Highland Community College.

Junior Carlos Carter (Indiana, Pa./Indiana) scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half. Carter shot 7-of-14 from the field and added six rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist.

Graduate Jake Biss (Latrobe, Pa./Greater Latrobe) put up 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and one steal. Biss was 5-of-9 from the field and 2-of-4 from three-point range. He also sank the game-clinching free throws with 0.3 seconds left.

Senior Kiyon Hardy (Philadelphia, Pa./The Shipley School (Kutztown)) scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds, and dished out two assists. Redshirt-junior Dom Sleva (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) had six points, six rebounds and three assists. Junior Luke Nedrow (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic (Marist)) had six points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal.

Shippensburg shot 50 percent from the field for the second time this season. SU was 6-of-15 from three-point range in the first half but 0-for-5 in the second half. The Raiders were 80 percent (17-of-21) at the free-throw line, including 16-of-19 (84 percent) in the second half.

What’s next

Mansfield shot 62.5 percent from the field in the second half. Justice Smith scored 28 points and had six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Jaz Farrell put up 17 points, four rebounds, and one assist. Friend converted a game-high seven assists, scored eight points, got four rebounds and had two steals.

Shippensburg will host East Stroudsburg at 3 p.m. Saturday at Heiges Field House.

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