The Shippensburg University men’s basketball team came into Decker Gymnasium with a target on its back, as Mansfield University looked up for the task of competing with a high-flying Raiders’ team.
A big night by Antonio Kellem and a 10–0 scoring run to end the first half by SU was enough for the Raiders to get by the Mountaineers, 85–72. Kellem finished the game with 25 points, shooting 8-of-16 including 5-of-10 from 3-point range. Kellem also grabbed seven rebounds.
“Antonio did a great job for us,” Fite said. “He’s been consistent for us all year round and he stepped up and carried some of the weight offensively for us in the first half and got us going.”
In the second half, SU and Mansfield exchanged scoring runs but the Mountaineers could draw no closer than nine points the rest of the way. The Raiders 10–0 run in the final 4:07 of the first half gave the Raiders a 15-point lead going into halftime.
“I was happy we did what we needed to do to win this game, but they shot 63 percent in the second half,” Fite said. “Our energy level was poor and defensively I felt like we didn’t have the edge we needed in the game. I feel like we should’ve finished them off much earlier than we did. I’m happy we made our foul shots and did what we needed to do down the stretch, but we need to be better than that if we’re going to win big games.”
For SU, Dustin Sleva finished the night with 15 points, which gives him at least 15 points in all 13 games thus far for the Raiders. Justin McCarthur was fantastic on the night, finishing with 16 points and three assists. McCarthur made 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the win. McCarthur’s performance marks the sixth time in the last seven games that he has scored 15 or more points.
Abe Massaley finished the game in double-figures for SU, racking up 10 points and six assists. Those six assists pushed his career total to 402. Massaley became just the fifth player in Raider history to tally 400 or more assists, joining Art Taneyhill (580, 1961-65), Karriem Parker (448, 1991-1995), Rick Jackson (440, 1984-86), and Marcus Hudson (415, 2002-06) in the SU record book.
John Castello finished the game with nine points and five rebounds, while Chris Nwandu finished with eight points, four rebounds and two steals in 17 minutes off the bench.
With the win, the Raiders, now 13–0, 9–0 PSAC continue their best start in school history. Fite has been pleased with his team’s effort this season.
“I’m happy with it, how could you not be,” Fite said. “We’re doing a nice job with our preparation and taking each team one game at a time and we’re doing what it takes to win right now, so hopefully we just keep on this track and keep getting better.”
The Raiders will host PSAC East Division rival West Chester University Jan. 11 at Heiges Field House. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.