Thursday, December 30, 2004
By Bob Heller
In a wild finish, the West Chester University Golden Rams staved off a rally by the University of the Sciences Devils, handing the men's basketball team their third straight loss 69-65.
The Devils, who trailed by as many as 13 in the first half and nine midway through the second, had cut the deficit to two, 58-56 late in the game on a Bill Kurtz (So., Shawnee HS/Shamong, NJ) three-point field goal. West Chester then ran off five straight points including their lone field goal in the final seven minutes of play to go up by seven 63-56 with 1:43 left. Gene Willard (Sr., Cardinal O'Hara HS/ Broomall, PA) countered with a three at the 40 second mark to pull USP within four 63-59. Two more West Chester free throws and the Devils were trailing by six, 65-59. USP still trailed by six when Kurtz was fouled shooting a desperation three pointer with nine seconds left. Kurtz made two of three free throws to make the score 65-61. On the ensuing inbounds, USP’s Howard Lanier (Fr., St. augustine Prep/Sicklerville, NJ) tied up Mark Gerhardt and the possession arrow favored the Devils. Kurtz then hit his seventh trey of the game with 4.6 seconds left to make the score 65-64. WCU’s Brandon Long made two FT’s as no time ticked off making the score 67-64. Chris Brattelli (Sr., Highland Regional HS/Clementon, NJ) was fouled with 4.5 seconds left and made one of two free throws, making the score 67-65. Two more free throws by WCU’s Shawn Werdt with 3.2 seconds to go provided the final margin and made the score 69-65.
Kurtz paced the Devils with 23 points including a career-high seven three-point field goals. Brattelli added 11 points and 10 rebounds while Willard scored 16 points.
West Chester shot a blistering 68.4%(13-19) from the field in the first half, connecting on their first seven shots as their took a nine-point lead into the lockerroom at halftime, 34-25. The Devils meanwhile connected on just nine of 24 shots from the field.
USP improved in the second half making 12 of 25(48%) shots from the field. This and their defense holding the Golden Rams to just seven field goals in the period kept USP in the game. However, the Devils shot an uncharacteristic 15 for 30 (50%) from the free throw line compared to 21 of 29 (72.4%) by West Chester. West Chester finished the game shooting 51.3% (20-39) from the field to the Devils 42.9% (21-49).
The Devils are now 4-6 overall. USP returns to CACC action on Thursday, January 6, 2005 with a game against Dominican College at the Bobby Morgan Arena.