Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cal U rallies past Lourdes, 61-54

CALIFORNIA (Dec. 4) – After trailing by seven points at halftime, the Vulcans scored 40 points and shot over 60 percent in the second half en route to earning a 61-54 win against Lourdes (Ohio) on Saturday night at Hamer Hall.

With the victory, the California University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team improves to 2-1 this season with both wins at home. Meanwhile, Lourdes drops to 6-6 this season. The Gray Wolves are a first-year member of the NAIA and are located in Sylvania, Ohio, about 20 miles west of Toldeo.

Sophomore Quentin Harding (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) led four Vulcans in double-figures with 14 points, all in the second half. The 6-5 swingman shot four-of-eight from the field and five-of-eight from the free-throw line on Saturday. He also collected six rebounds (three offensive) after playing only eight minutes in the first half due to foul trouble.

Junior guard Freddy Appiah (Toronto, Ontario/Ascension of Our Lord) posted 13 points after going a perfect five-for-five from the charity stripe. He also added a team-high four assists, three steals and two blocks against Lourdes. Senior forward Rashawd Hatten (Clairton, Pa./Clairton) finished with 11 points and sophomore guard Ryne Niemiec (Brownsville, Pa./Beth-Center) contributed 10 points off the bench.

The Gray Wolves led 28-21 at halftime and stretched their lead to nine points, 34-25, in the first four minutes of the second half. Cal U responded with a 10-unanswered points to take its first lead of the game following a layup by Niemiec with 13:03 remaining, 35-34. Lourdes again reclaimed the lead and led 43-37 with 10:00 left before the Vulcans countered with a 13-0 rally to seize control of the game and take a 50-43 lead with 6:23 remaining. During the run, Cal U made all five of its field goals and Harding scored five of his 14 second-half points.

Cal U lead by five points, 55-50, entering the final minute of play and Lourdes made it a one-possession game, 55-52, with a pair of free-throws at the 44-second mark. Each team then committed a turnover on its next possession before the Vulcans made four free-throws in the final 34 seconds to seal the win.

Despite shooting only 26 percent in the first half, the Vulcans finished the game making 43.5 percent (20-of-46) of their shots. The Gray Wolves shot a similar 42.6 percent (20-of-47) from the field for the game. Cal U posted a season-best performance from the free-throw line, making 18-of-27 attempts (66.7 percent).

Both teams collected 29 rebounds and the Vulcans registered five blocks, including two by the 6-1 Appiah. Cal U forced 19 turnovers, collected six steals and registered nine assists in the victory.

Senior guard Joe Davis, a transfer from NCAA Division I Morgan State, led the Gray Wolves with 22 points, including 15 in the first half. Fellow guard John Washington was the only other player in double figures, scoring 11 points.

The Vulcans return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 8, when they host No. 19 Bowie State (Md.) at 7 p.m.

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