KUTZTOWN – Ethan Ridgeway returned to the lineup after missing one game because of an injury, and the senior looked like it was game number one of the season, leading the fourth-seeded Kutztown University men’s basketball team to a 93-79 win Monday night against fifth-seeded Bloomsburg University in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) first round from Keystone Arena.
The senior Ridgeway, who missed the win over Lock Haven last Saturday, Feb. 24 after injuring his shoulder the game before vs. East Stroudsburg, sparked the Golden Bears (21-6 overall) to the tune of 14 points and 12 assists, his ninth double-double of the season, and 10th game distributing double-digit assists. He now has 682 in his career, and moved into fourth all-time in PSAC history in career assists Monday night.
“I felt great,” said Ridgeway. “It was good to be back out there with my teammates and be able to come
out with a win. We always gear up for the playoffs, and just want to keep this thing going.”
Anthony Lee was a beneficiary of some Ridgeway dimes, as the redshirt-junior finished with a team-high 23 points, going 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) from the floor, including 3-for-5 (60 percent) from three-point land. Lee entered Wednesday third in NCAA Division II in three-point percentage (50.3) and fifth in the PSAC in field-goal percentage (53.9), and only improved upon those numbers.
Not to be outdone by those two upperclassmen, redshirt-freshman Moe Williams, who was named the PSAC East Freshman of the Week this week for the fifth time this season, recorded his eighth double-double this season and sixth in a row. He tallied a career-high 20 points and brought in 10 rebounds, grabbing the 10th with 1:25 to go to keep the streak of double-doubles going. Williams was 7-of-10 from the floor, and tied a career-high with 12 free-throw attempts, connecting on six.
Kutztown shot 61.5 percent from the floor, its second highest total this season, behind the 68 percent it shot vs. Penn State Schuylkill in the season-opener Nov. 11.
Rafiq Marshall went 4-for-6 (66.7 percent), while making 3-of-4 (75 percent) threes for 16 points. Max Wagner shot 3-for-3, including making his only three-point attempt, and finished with seven points. Facundo Arens had six points going 2-for-3, Ricky Hicks contributed four points on 2-of-3 shooting, and Kiyon Hardy connected on his only three-pointer for three points.
In a back-and-forth first 7:45 of the first half, the Huskies (15-12) led 20-18. But KU then went on a 21-5 run in the next 7:45 to take a 39-25 lead with 4:00 until halftime. Kutztown connected on eight of its 12 shots during that span, compared to just two-of-11 for Bloomsburg. The KU defense held the Huskies all-time leading scorer Christian Mortellite to just three points on 1-of-10 shooting in the first half. His only field goal came with 1:02 left in the half as Kutztown held a 46-38 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, Bloomsburg slowly, but surely, chipped away at its deficit. The Huskies got to within one point, 52-51, with 15:08 left, but that would be the closest they would get the rest of the way, as KU took a 16-8 run in the next 6:23 to hold a 68-59 lead with 8:45 remaining, and the Maroon and Gold were able to hold on in the end.
Kutztown advances to the PSAC Quarterfinals to take on top-seed East Stroudsburg on the road at Koehler Fieldhouse Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m.