The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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Men’s Team Extends Winning Streak to Five, Defeating Edinboro 88-73

Recap of Edinboro Fighting Scots @ California Vulcans
Nathan Kurtz
Donald Whitehead driving to the net

The Vulcans looked to continue their hot stretch, as they rode a four-game winning streak into the battle of PennWest schools, as they were set to take on Edinboro. This would be the last PSAC matchup before the second half of conference play. Coming into the game, all eyes were on the two leading scorers in all of the PSAC, both East and West, as Vulcan’s guard KJ McClurg entered the game averaging 22.6 points per game, leading the PSAC, with Edinboro guard Bernie Blunt close behind him, averaging 20.2 points per game.  

The game started out fast, as the Vulcans and the Fighting Scots traded baskets quickly, each team able to score 11 points in the first four and a half minutes of the game. KJ McClurg got off to a hot start, scoring seven of the first 11 points for his team.

Edinboro entered the game with a record of 5-14 overall, and 4-9 in conference play, filling out the bottom half of the PSAC West standings. They are currently battling with both Clarion and Mercyhurst for that sixth and final spot in the PSAC West playoffs coming down the stretch. On the other side, the Vulcans looked to remain dominant and focused coming into the game to avoid falling victim to a trap game against a team that could be easily overlooked, especially after coming off their big win on Monday at IUP.

“I feel like the game plan was mainly to stay focused,” said Antoine Arnett, redshirt Freshman who has been a spark all season for his team off the bench. “We had a big win over IUP the other day, but as Coach said, we’re moving on and trying to get to number one and keep going, trying to win the conference.”

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Vulcan Forward (#23), Antoine Arnett, being interviewed by CalTimes Sports Editor, Andrew White (Nathan Kurtz)

Arnett has been beyond impressive for this Vulcans team this season, and does exactly what is asked of him every single night, never trying to bite off more than he can chew. He only averages 5.8 points per game, but his most impressive feat is his shooting percentage from the floor being 65%. Usually, when you see a shooting percentage that high, it’s due to a somewhat small sample size, but Arnett has actually put up 75 shots this year, connecting on 49 of those attempts.

“Day-by-day I just try to stay focused,” said Arnett, “Trying to stay consistent, really.  When I get into the game, I try to do the best I can, and my teammates make it easy for me to do what I do.”

The Vulcans were able to take a 48-39 lead going into halftime, as some highlight plays from Sophomore forward Bryson Lucas got the energy going for the Vulcans early on. He had an electric slam dunk in the fast break, and a monster block that seemed to have taken some air out of the ball and got the crowd of over 600 fans on their feet. Although, the Fighting Scots carried the weight of their name as they were fighting to give California everything they had, keeping up with them on the offensive side of the floor for the majority of the first half. Bernie Blunt led all scorers for Edinboro with 12 points going into halftime.  

For the Vulcans, KJ McClurg led the way with 14 points and three rebounds, shooting 5-8, followed by Sophomore guard Donald Whitehead, who was able to add in nine points and three assists, shooting 2-3 from the floor and 4-4 from the free throw line. Whitehead has done a great job of stepping into his role as well, coming off the bench, handling the ball, and making shots when he needs to. 

“We know we have a target on our back, being the number one team in the conference,” said Whitehead when asked about what contributes to this team seeming to get better as the season continues. “We just have to bring the energy every single time we step on the floor. We can’t take any team lightly. We have to come out of the gates running, and focus on playing our style of basketball.”

The Vulcans began to run away with it in the second half, as they orchestrated a 17-5 run within a four minute span from the 13-minute mark to the 9-minute mark of the game, powered by some clutch baskets from Junior forward Keith Palek, and the rest of the team spreading the ball around and finding the most efficient shots on offense. Whitehead was able to continue his impressive scoring stretch in the second half as well, as he finished the game with 17 points in 29 minutes, shooting 5-8 from the floor and 3-5 from beyond the arc.

“It takes a lot of work in the gym, and people don’t see a lot of what we do behind closed doors, at practice, in preparation for these games,” said Whitehead. “Always getting shots up, always working hard.  Coach pushes us to be the best that we can be, and it pays off when we’re out here on the court.” 

The scoring was once again evenly spread out, as McClurg led the way with 22 points, Whitehead with 17, while Zyan Collins and Keith Palek also poured in 15 and 14 points, respectively. The Vulcans were able to lead for the entirety of the game, as they secured the win, 88-73. California improves to 18-2 on the season, with a 12-2 record in conference play, already matching their conference win total from a year ago, with still eight games remaining.  They now look ahead to the much-anticipated matchup with Gannon on Saturday, Feb. 3, a battle of the two top teams in the PSAC West.

Edinboro falls to 5-15, suffering their 10th conference loss of the season, making them 4-10 in PSAC play. They will travel to Clarion on Saturday, Feb. 3.

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About the Contributors
Andrew White, Sports Editor

Andrew White is the Sports Editor and serves as a staff writer for the CalTimes.  He has a deeply engraved passion for sports and loves to inform the community about the local teams, both on and off campus. He is a Senior here at PennWest California, majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Management.

Growing up in Brownsville, PA, Andrew is a die-hard Yinzer and will always have a place in his heart for the city of Pittsburgh and where he came from.  He serves as a play-by-play commentator for California’s basketball teams and hopes to land a career in Broadcasting, Public Relations, or Media Writing down the line, with his main goal being finding success as a play-by-play commentator.

Andrew is involved in CUTV, WCAL, CalTimes, and dips his hands in some graphic design work as well. He will be graduating in May and looks forward to his next steps of his career past PennWest California. He is the son of Tami and Stephen White of Brownsville, PA.

Nathan Kurtz, Staff Writer/Photographer
Class 2026 Sports Management Major. Sports photographer and member of CUTV and WCAL

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