The California University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team continued play in the second half of a double-header against the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, hoping they could contain the Mountain Cats scoring to less than 93 points, a score they put up the last time these teams faced each other.
The Vulcans opened the game as they normally do, pushing the pace and putting up shots to warm up. Even though the amount of shots increased, the amount of shots made, did not. The negative effects of the Vulcans missing so many shots was that UPJ was grabbing all of the defensive rebounds and turning them into points. A.J. Leahey for UPJ was not only a threat in the defensive department, by grabbing rebounds, but he also could shoot the ball, putting up 3-point FGs from all over the arc.
Richard Smith was not present in the game, therefore, allowing Tony Richardson to step up and assume the role of center, a big role in the contest. A momentum swing from California allowed for a barrage of points to be scored, causing the crowd to get behind the Vulcans in every way possible. After pulling within three, the Vulcans run was stunted, and the Mountain Cats controlled a 42-30 lead going into halftime.
The second half started with the Vulcans shooting the threes, crawling back into the game slowly, after Luka Andjusic and Drew Cook both helped California’s cause. The reason why California couldn’t get back into the game was due to their shooting percentage in the first half. They shot 33 percent from the field and only made four 3-pointers, attempting 16. Even though they picked it back up in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the field, and making 40 percent of their three-pointers attempted, they couldn’t correct the miscues.
California fell to UPJ 71-65 in a heartbreaker, when it looked like the Vulcans had a chance. On a night when Nate Bellhy had a season high 17 points, making 4-8 3-pointers attempted and also Nick Miller joining him with 11 points. The Vulcans fought valiantly in this game and even though they came up short, they showed lots of fight, even without Richard Smith. The men’s team will face the Seton Hill Griffins on February 13 at Seton Hill.