The Shippensburg University men’s basketball team opened the 2019-20 season with a Conference Challenge tournament at Heiges Field House in Shippensburg.
In its opening game on Friday night, Shippensburg defeated Virginia Union 77-62. The team came out hot and opened the game on a 20-8 run.
SU junior guard Jake Biss scored 24 of his 32 points in the first half and the Raiders went into halftime with a 45-31 lead. Biss was on fire in the first half, as he made his first eight shots of the game. He finished with 32 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Seniors John Castello and Lamar Talley combined for 31 points and 14 rebounds and neither missed a shot at the free-throw line.
The Raiders also received production from a pair of transfers, sophomore Luke Nedrow and junior Kiyon Hardy. Nedrow finished with 10 rebounds and four points. Hardy finished with four points, with all of them coming from the free-throw line, and five assists.
Shippensburg, however, struggled to control the ball, committing 20 turnovers against Virginia Union. Also, excluding Biss’ five three-pointers, the team went 1-for-15 from beyond the arc.
The Raiders’ shooting woes continued on Saturday as they dropped a close game to Virginia State 58-54.
Shippensburg was held to just 28% shooting overall and they shot a meager 23% from beyond the arc.
Shippensburg got off to a slow start, falling behind 9-0 to start the game, but battled back to tie it at 17 with five minutes to go in the first half.
The game went back and forth, but it seemed as if the Raiders took control when Talley hit a big three to give them a 50-46 lead in the final minutes of the game.
VSU closed strong, scoring on the final three possessions and icing the game at the free-throw line.
The Trojans led the rebounding battle 48-40 and secured a points in the paint advantage, 34-20.
Castello led the Raiders with 14 points and nine rebounds while Talley added 12 points and seven rebounds. Biss had a quiet night, scoring seven points to go along with five assists and five rebounds. Sophomore Carlos Carter led the team with four steals.
Biss, Talley and Castello each earned a spot in the All-Tournament team.
Shippensburg will return to the floor on Wednesday at 7 p.m. when it takes on Bowie State at Heiges Field House.