The Shippensburg University men’s basketball team shot 57.7 percent from the field in the first half and did not look back as the first-place Raiders picked up a near wire-to-wire win over second-place West Chester in an important PSAC East showdown Monday inside Heiges Field House, 84-68.
Shippensburg (14-8, 12-4 PSAC) rode its red hot first half to a season-best 52.9 percent night from the field as it cruised to victory against the rival Golden Rams. All five Raider starters reached double figures, led by senior Carlos Carter (Indiana, Pa./Indiana), who finished with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Graduate Luke Nedrow (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic (Marist)) added a season-high 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting.
West Chester (16-7, 11-6 PSAC) held its only lead in the first few moments before being overran by a monstrous 13-0 Raider run early in the opening half. Guard Anthony Purnell Jr. scored 23 points to pace the Golden Rams in the loss.
Redshirt senior Rashon Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa./Simon Gratz (Highland C.C.)) and redshirt sophomore Andrew Recchia (Mars, Pa./Mars Area) splashed threes during the Raiders’ early onslaught, with Recchia’s trey resulting in a 17-7 Raider lead less than five minutes into the first half.
The Golden Rams were able to trim the deficit to as little as two points midway through the first half, but the Raiders followed with seven unanswered points, and finished the first half with another offensive flurry to take 42-33 lead into the locker room.
The Raiders remained all business after the break, starting the second stanza with a 13-1 spurt that served as an early knockout blow. Sophomore Satchel Ball (La Plata, Md./North Point) buried a pull-up three on a Shippensburg fastbreak to give the hosts a 21-point cushion with 14:56 left.
The SU advantage did not sink below double digits the rest of the way.
Johnson, Recchia and Sleva joined Carter and Nedrow in double figures Monday. Sleva notched his NCAA Division II-leading 14th double-double (10 pts., 11 rebs.). Johnson had a solid all-around performance, posting 12 points, five boards and three helpers, while Recchia added 12.
The Raiders were also on the mark from the foul line, where they converted 23-of-26 (88.5 percent) for the game.
Defensively, SU held the Golden Rams to 37.1 percent shooting, including a paltry 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from three.
Next up, Shippensburg heads to Kutztown to take on the Golden Bears Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m