In the early stages of the 2010-2011 regular season, the West Chester University men’s basketball team had not been able to string together a consistent wire-to-wire effort against a Division II opponent, despite coming into Saturday’s game with Edinboro with a 7-3 record.
Coming off a pair of losses on their annual PSAC crossover road trip at Clarion and Gannon, the Golden Rams needed a solid performance against the Fighting Scots at Hollinger Field House to regain momentum. West Chester got that, and then some, defeating Edinboro 78-64 in the best overall performance of the season for the Rams.
“If it’s one of those things that kicked in today, then I’ll take it,” West Chester head coach Damien Blair said after the game. “You have to take these wins when you can.”
With the exception of a layup by Edinboro’s Cory Somerville to start the game, the Rams never trailed in the contest, jumping out to a 15-6 lead five minutes into the game. Shannon Givens scored six of his 11 points during that run – on a three point shot and a three point play.
The Scots did battle back to tie the game at 28-28 with 6:17 left in the first half when Danny Walsh hit a three point shot. The Rams, however, closed out the first half with a 12-4 run, during which Lance McDowell scored six of his game-high 21 points, allowing West Chester to take a 40-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half started off much the same way the first half ended, with the Rams carrying momentum to a 7-3 run coming out of the locker room. The Scots didn’t make their first basket in the first four minutes of the half.
That turned out to be all that West Chester needed, as the Rams maintained a double digit lead through the entire second half. Khalif Foster came off the bench and was a key factor in allowing the Rams to maintain that lead, scoring all 18 of his points in the second half.
“All of the sudden, he just flipped the switch,” Blair said of Foster’s second half explosion.
“It was a must win for us,” Foster said after the game.
West Chester dominated in all facets of the game, shooting a respectable 27-for-66 (41 percent), while holding Edinboro to 24-for-59 (40.7 percent) from the field. The Rams also did well from the foul line, converting 21-of-23 (91 percent) free throws, while Edinboro only converted 11-of-18 (61 percent) foul shots.
West Chester turned the ball over 16 times, while forcing 18 Edinboro turnovers. The Rams also outrebounded the Scots 46-32.
“We’re taking baby steps,” Blair said of his team’s performance.
Creighton Rabs covers West Chester University athletics for glowbass.com, and is neither affiliated with nor employed by West Chester University. Feedback can be emailed to [email protected].