The Shippensburg University men’s basketball team survived Millersville University, defeating them 69-66 in an intense Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Quarterfinals matchup at Heiges Field House.
The Raiders (23-6, 18-4 PSAC) came out of the gate sluggish, falling behind 10-2 to start the game. However, five first half 3-pointers helped Shippensburg recover to take a 33-20 lead into the half.
Shippensburg held a 10-point lead with 7:17 remaining in the game, but an 8-0 Millersville run cut the lead to just two points with 5:51 left.
Four free throws from junior Kiyon Hardy in the final 13 seconds of action resulted in the Raiders securing a three-point lead heading into the game’s final seconds. Millersville had a chance to tie the game, but James Sullivan missed a three at the buzzer and the Raiders emerged victorious.
SU head coach Chris Fite talked about the excitement of being able to play at home, where the Raiders are 12-4 this season, in the playoffs.
“It was a great atmosphere, it’s nice to be able to play a playoff game at home,” Fite said. “Our guys responded for the most part and I was proud of how we battled.”
Shippensburg had to overcome a tough shooting night as they shot 32% from the field, 28% from beyond the arc and an uncharacteristic 63% from the free-throw line.
Hardy and redshirt sophomore Dom Sleva were both key off the bench for the Raiders. Both players scored in double figures, and Sleva nearly posted a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Senior John Castello and junior Jake Biss both struggled offensively. Castello scored five points on 2-for-10 shooting and Biss mustered seven points on 2-for-12 shooting while committing five turnovers.
Senior Lamar Talley stepped up and scored a season-high 17 points to go along with nine rebounds.
“It’s awesome to see [Talley] have a game like that,” said Fite. “He’s a senior and he wasn’t going down without a fight.”
Caden Najdawi was dominant for the Marauders. He posted 20 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and blocked four shots.
With the win, the Raiders will host the PSAC Men’s Basketball Final Four for the first time in school history. They host Mercyhurst at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in the PSAC Semifinals at Heiges Field House.