Danny Bailey – Staff Writer
This past weekend, the Clarion men’s basketball team took on the California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans at Tippin Gym. The team was looking for a win in the last home game of the season, but their luck ran out Saturday, as the Golden Eagles fell to the Vulcans by a score of 74-56. This pushes Clarion to a record of 7-19 for the season and 4-16 in the PSAC with only two games left to play.
The game started out very hopeful for the Golden Eagles, as they took a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes of play. BJ Andrews was aggressive, hitting a 2-point field goals and a 3-pointer to start the game, and Akeem Williams added to that with two free throws of his own. Clarion was able to maintain the pressure for the initial 10 minutes of the first half.
Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, CalU had other plans. The Vulcans took the lead at the 10:36 mark with a score of 17-16, and from that point forward, Clarion could not manage to take the lead. By the end of the half, CalU had a stranglehold on Clarion with a 43-24 lead.
If you have ever flown, then you have probably experienced turbulence… just like the Golden Eagles did during the first half of the game. It’s hard to gain a lead when your shooting percentage is a dismal 7-26 leading to a 26.92 percent shooting rate while our PSAC rivals were shooting 51.61 percent going 16-31. They were pretty consistent on its 3-point shooting, going 6-15.
Things had to change for Clarion if they wanted to win and soar out of the wreckage of the first half, and they did just that. They raised its shooting percentage to 46.88 percent by making 15 out of 32 shots in the second half, a significant improvement. Clarion’s improvements could not overcome the consistency of the Vulcans as they maintained the course they set in the first half.
Clarion ended with a 37.9 percent shooting percentage, but the real story was in the 3-point stats. There’s a saying in basketball: “You live and die by the 3-point line,” and no other saying could have rung true in this game. The Golden Eagles were not shy from beyond the arc, and as they made three of 25 while its advocacies knocked down 11 of 33. Every other stat (rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, etc) were virtually the same. This game was decided by 3-point shots and in these types of battles, one is bound to fall. Unfortunately for Clarion, it wasn’t its night to reign down threes despite their best efforts.
The Clarion leaders for the game Jamari Pierce with 22 points and two assists, BJ Andrews added 14 points, one assist and a block, and Manny Powell who provided the team with seven assists.
Even though the seniors, B.J. Andrews, Akeem Williams, Jamal Bailey, and Justin Grant left Clarion’s Tippin gym for the last time with a loss, they can still end the season on a somber note with two opportunities to bring home wins for Clarion against PSAC rivals IUP and Edinboro this Wednesday and Saturday.