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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Vulcans Bounce Back After Tough Loss to Gannon, Defeat Seton Hill in Offensive Shootout

Recap of California Vulcans @ Seton Hill Griffins
Andrew White
Seton Hill Gym as the Vulcans Set to faceoff

The California Vulcans took a short trip to Greensburg for their matchup against Seton Hill on Wednesday, Feb. 7 where they looked to respond following a crucial loss to the Gannon Golden Knights over the weekend. They came into the game ranked 16th in all of Division 2 basketball, and wanted to prove to everyone that they should still be considered the top team in the PSAC, even after their loss on Saturday.

The game started out hot for the Griffins, as they were able to build up an eight point lead in the first eight minutes of the game, outscoring California 21-13 early on, which marked their biggest lead of the game. The Vulcans just could not seem to get going on offense, and every time they were able to capitalize on their possession, the Griffins had an answer for it.

“We’re just focusing on playing defense and keeping our guy in front at all times,” said Zyan Collins, Senior guard for the Vulcans who jumped up to #8 on the all-time scoring list for California this past Saturday. “We know we’re fine on the offensive side of the ball and we can score whenever. It’s really just about our defense, locking up their best players and being in the right places at the right times. That comes from knowing the personnel and the scouting report going into each game.”

California responded well to the early eight point deficit, as they were able to put together some impressive defensive possessions that resulted in the Griffins turning it over, or simply having to put up tough shots each and every time down the floor. Going into halftime, the Vulcans managed to tie the game up at 40, following a three pointer by KJ McClurg in the closing seconds of the first half.  

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Zyan Collins, however, found himself struggling a bit in the first half, as he was held without a field goal and only two points, both coming from the free throw line. In order for this team to be playing at their highest level, they needed their captain to show up in the second half, and that’s exactly what he did. 

Coming out of the break, Bryson Lucas of the Vulcans was able to set the tone early with an emphatic slam dunk on their first possession of the game, getting his teammates energized.  The Sophomore was able to put together quite a performance for the Vulcans, as he finished the game with 17 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, missing only one of his eight shot attempts throughout the game.

Zyan Collins was able to get going in the second half as well, connecting on five three pointers in the last 18 minutes of play, which helped propel the Vulcans to the finish line. When asked about what contributed to his second half performance, he credited his family who gave him some words of wisdom coming out of the halftime break.

Zyan Collins against UPJ on Jan. 24, 2024 (Nathan Kurtz)

“Honestly, my brother and my dad,” said Collins. “They just told me coming out of the tunnel that whatever I do, to just focus on having fun. The first half wasn’t as fun for me, but with this being my last year, I need to focus on soaking it all in. When I got the ball, I was thinking ‘let me just be confident and get my work in,’ and it paid off.”

Collins attributed 18 second half points to finish the game with 20 points, as he played all 40 minutes of the game. He connected on back-to-back three pointers with just over two minutes to play, which gave California their biggest lead of the game, 92-82, followed by an energetic slam dunk with just 16 seconds left to put an exclamation mark on the Vulcans Victory, as they won the game by a score of 100-93.

The Vulcans improve to 19-3 on the season, with a 13-3 record in conference play, surpassing their PSAC win total from a year ago. They now hold a 1.5-game lead over the IUP Crimson Hawks for second place in the PSAC West, after IUP lost in double overtime on Wednesday, Feb. 7 to rival Mercyhurst, 93-85. KJ McClurg led all scorers with 21 points on 7-15 shooting, followed by Collins with 20 and Bryson Lucas pouring in 17 points himself. The Vulcans look ahead as they host Slippery Rock on Saturday, Feb. 10 a matchup they have had circled on their calendars since their upset loss to them on the road back on January 13.

“We’re looking to give them back what we owe them,” said Collins. “They beat us the first time and it left a bad taste in our mouths. We just want to get back to who we are as a team, and pile up the wins heading into the playoffs.”

Seton Hill falls to 12-10 on the season, now two games under .500 in conference play at 7-9, ranking sixth in the PSAC West, which is the final spot in which they can make the playoffs.  They currently hold a two game lead on Clarion and Edinboro for that final spot, as they both sit at 5-11 in conference play. They host Clarion on Saturday, Feb. 10 in what will be a big game to decide their fate.

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About the Contributor
Andrew White
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.

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