The Shippensburg University men’s basketball team held off a resilient Mansfield team Saturday to escape the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference matchup with a thrilling 74-72 overtime victory.
Shippensburg (20-6, 14-4 PSAC) started slow out of the gate, shooting just 27 percent from the field in the first half.
SU trailed 30-21 at halftime, as Mansfield (4-23, 1-18) used a sharp shooting performance from behind the arc to build its halftime lead.
SU hit huge shots in the final seconds of both regulation and overtime.
Sophomore Jake Biss tied the game at 62 with 0.6 seconds left in regulation on a driving, contested lay-up.
It took until overtime for the Raiders to grab their first lead of the game, and they later extended the margin to three after a 3-point play from senior Antonio Kellem.
The lead didn’t last long, as Mansfield narrowed it to one with a quick basket and then regained the lead with two free throws after an SU turnover.
Trailing by one point with 15 seconds to play, the Raiders drew up a play which saw Biss dish to Kellem, who knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer with three seconds remaining.
Biss, Kellem and junior John Castello carried the load for the Raiders all afternoon. Biss scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting. He recorded three assists and also made his presence felt on the defensive end, notching one steal and one block.
Kellem poured in 21 points, while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists. He recorded two steals on the defensive end.
Castello registered his 10th double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing 14 boards while also recording two steals.
Redshirt-freshman Dom Sleva gave SU valuable minutes off the bench, scoring seven points and pulling down 10 rebounds of his own.
The Raiders looked like a brand-new team in the second half. In the first half they trailed by as many as nine, SU shot 27 percent from the field and 21 percent from 3-point range.
The Raiders improved those figures to 44 and 40 percent, respectively, in the second half.
Shippensburg’s victory secured the team’s fourth consecutive 20-win season. SU joins Indiana University of Pennsylvania as the only two PSAC men’s basketball teams to hit the 20-win mark in each of the past four seasons (2016-19). Before this four-year run, Shippensburg had reached 20 wins in a season just twice in program history.
The win is Shippensburg’s third in as many tries, as they remain in third place in the PSAC East behind West Chester and East Stroudsburg.
SU will host West Chester Wednesday at 8 p.m. in a crucial late-season conference battle. The Raiders will honor Kellem and Manny Span as they celebrate Senior Night.