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 Dominate on Senior Day, Defeat Mercyhurst 83-60

Recap of Mercyhurst Lakers @ California Vulcans
Nathan Kurtz
Zyan Collins going for the basket against Mercyhurst

The anticipation was palpable as the California Vulcans geared up for their Senior Day clash against the formidable Lakers of Mercyhurst, marking the final lap for some of the program’s most illustrious players in recent history. Seniors Zyan Collins and Jermaine Hall Jr., boasting an impressive combined total of almost 3,000 career points, have showcased their character both on and off the court in recent years, and were recognized for their determination and commitment to the program.

With a stellar record of 22-3 overall and 16-3 in conference play, the Vulcans were set to face the Lakers, who entered the contest with a respectable but less imposing record of 13-14 overall and 9-10 in conference play.

Zyan Collins recently etched his name in school history by surpassing 1,600 career points, solidifying his position as a top-5 scorer at California. In the wake of this achievement, Collins humbly attributed his success to his coaches and teammates, emphasizing that, while the milestone is significant, he is focused solely on one thing.

“It means a lot, for sure, but it doesn’t mean more than a Championship,” said Collins. “It’s a great milestone, and I wouldn’t have it without my coaches and teammates, but I’m really just trying to get a ring.”

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Reflecting on the unprecedented success of the team, Collins expressed gratitude towards his dedicated teammates and coaches, highlighting their collective pursuit of victory. The matchup against IUP this past Wednesday, Feb. 28, held particular significance as the team aimed to continue their winning streak and make a lasting impact going into the playoffs.

“The main goal for us is to win out. We beat IUP last time for what was the first time in what—like, 15 years or something? We’re looking forward to that matchup again, especially hosting them on our own floor. Personally, I’ve never been on a team that won more than 23 games before, and neither has anyone else on the team. We’re just trying to win as many games as we can, make a name for ourselves, and keep putting on for Cal,” Collins stated prior to Wednesday’s game against IUP.

As for the Senior Day game, the Vulcans maintained control throughout its entirety, securing a convincing victory with a nearly 60% shooting accuracy, and concluding with a final score of 83-60. Donald Whitehead and KJ McClurg, the dynamic Sophomore guards, led the charge with 17 points each, while Jermaine and Zyan contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.

This margin of victory was nothing new for the Vulcans, as they have consistently proven themselves as one of the most talented teams in Division II basketball. Their dominance extended beyond offense, as they lead various defensive categories and have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with going forward. In this game particularly, they were able to hold the Lakers to under 30% from the floor, proving how dominant they can be when their defensive intensity is higher than usual.

“Once we get locked in on defense, I think that’s really the main key to everything,” said Jermaine Hall Jr., fellow Senior on the team. “I don’t think anything else played a big part in the win, specifically, but the energy in the crowd was definitely spontaneous for sure. When we play good defense, regardless of who we play, we’re going to win the game.”

Jermaine emphasized the team’s recent success, attributing it to their determination on the defensive end, which was a focal point in their practice sessions. Jermaine himself was also able to break into the top-20 in school history for points in the game, which marked a significant personal achievement for the long-time Vulcan. Grateful for the support that propelled him to this point, Jermaine reflected on his six years of hard work.

“It means a lot to me. In high school, I wasn’t really much of a scorer,” Jermaine said. “I didn’t shoot the ball at all, and I was more of a defensive player, so to hear that makes me think of all the hard work I’ve put in throughout my six years of being here, so I’m proud of myself. Everyone that has pushed me is the reason I’m here today.”

The two will be featured in exclusive interviews, labeled “Senior Sendoff,” highlighting their careers while playing for the Vulcans, everything leading up to it, and their biggest takeaways from their time here at California. As the two Seniors savor their final moments on the court in the remaining weeks of the season, their eyes are set on the playoffs, with a home playoff game scheduled for Wednesday, Mar. 6, at the Convocation Center. Before that, however, the Vulcans will play host to the Crimson Hawks of Indiana on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and conclude their regular-season play with a road trip to Edinboro on Saturday, Mar. 2.

Mercyhurst falls to 13-15 overall, with a 9-11 record in conference play. They traveled to Clarion on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and will wrap up their regular season with a home game on Saturday, Mar. 2 against Slippery Rock.

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About the Contributors
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.

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

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