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Bloomsburg overcomes 16-point deficit to end Mansfield University’s season 89-80

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Division- II Bloomsburg rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half to pull out a 89-80 PSAC East win over Mansfield University on at Decker Gymnasium in Mansfield on Feb. 22. The game was part of a men’s- women’s doubleheader.

The loss, combined with Kutztown University’s win over Shippensburg ended Mansfield's (8-18, 6-10 PSAC East) PSAC playoff hopes. It also put a bit of a damper on Senior Day for the Mountaineers with seniors Charles Becoats, Kevonte McClain, Onyema Utti and Xavier Warner honored in pregame ceremonies.

Mansfield sprinted out to a 13-3 lead on a 3-pointer by Joe Bell five minutes into the game and extended the advantage to 28-14 on a jumper by Becoats with seven minutes before intermission.

Bloomsburg would manage to cut the lead to under double-digits at 40-31 at halftime.

Bloomsburg came out of intermission strong, closing to 40-35 in the first minute of the second half and cut the Mountaineers lead to 49-47 following a layup by Alssene Saintilus with 16:00 remaining. But a three-pointer by Brady Burke started off a 17-3 run for the Mountaineers, giving Mansfield a 66-50 advantage on a 3-pointer by Becoats with 12 minutes to play.

From there, the game completely turned in the Huskies' favor. After a layup from Moustapha Noumbissi (Upper Darby/Delaware County Christian School) to close within 11 at 68-57, Becoats drained a 3-pointer to put Mansfield up, 71-57. The number 71 would become a frustrating total for the Mountaineers, however, as they would be stuck on that total for the next 8:05.

While the Mountaineers went ice cold, the Huskies were scorching. Bloomsburg went on a 23-0 run to completely turn the tide during Mansfield's cold snap. Charles Haigler started the run with a running layup to bring the Huskies within 71-59 score with 9:28 remaining. Jon Riles then added a traditional 3-point play and the Huskies were rolling. Free throws from Jordan tied the score at 71 with 6:24 on the clock and Zach Sheetz gave the Huskies their first lead since leading 1-0 at the start of the game with two more shots at the charity stripe.

Bloomsburg extended that lead to 80-70 with under four minutes to go and Mansfield was never able to pull to any closer than six points for the remainder of the game.

Riles led all five Huskies starters in double figures with a career-high 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor. Dontahe Jordan posted his seventh double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Haigler netted his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Lorenzo Christmas and Saintilus added 15 and 10 points respectively.

Becoats (21 points) and Bell (20) accounted for 41 of Mansfield’s points but it was Charles Pemberton’s day. The junior forward knocked down 8-of-9 shots from the floor to record 17 points and pulled down a team-high eight caroms. He also swatted six shots away to allow him to set a new school shot-blocking record with 63.

Bloomsburg (15-10, overall, 10-5 PSAC East) secured No. 3 seed in the Eastern Division and will host a first round playoff game on March 1.

Bloomsburg defeated Mansfield in the women’s game 63-55. The Huskies clinched their fourth straight PSAC East Division crown while Mansfield finished the season winless.

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