Despite subpar shooting from beyond the arc and the free throw line, the Shippensburg University men’s basketball team ended the Thanksgiving break with a gritty 61–58 victory over the California University of Pennsylvania (CalU) on Sunday.
With the team struggling from the floor, the rebounding dominance that had been a key contributor to Shippensburg’s undefeated start to the season was once again a crucial element of the Raiders’ comeback against the Vulcans, as the team out-rebounded CALU 47 to 36, grabbing 21 offensive rebounds that led to a staggering 27 points.
The team ended the night shooting just 22 percent (7-of-32) from deep and finished with a below average mark of 43 percent from the charity stripe (6-of-14).
While the team struggled on offense, the Raiders were locked in defensively, which ultimately ended up carrying them to their fifth victory of the season. Over the final 4:37 of the game, SU held the Vulcans to a measly three points, allowing the Raiders to pull off a gutsy comeback win.
Leading the way for the Raiders were junior guard Lamar Talley and junior forward John Castello. Talley grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and pitched in 13 points — posting his first career double-double — while Castello produced 13 points along with six rebounds.
Sophomore guard Jake Biss dished out a team-high six assists while contributing nine points in the victory, including a timely three-pointer that gave SU the lead with 1:45 remaining in the game.
Redshirt-freshman Dom Sleva continued his stellar play off the bench, pitching in 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds in 22 minutes of game time.
Senior Manny Span scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds — six of which were on offense — during his time on the floor and senior Antonio Kellem chipped in seven points and five rebounds.
The Raiders look to continue their hot start to the season today at 7 p.m. as they play host to Chestnut Hill College in Heiges Field House.