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LHU Men’s: Eagles soar past Huskies, 87-76

By BILL ALBRIGHT

Express Sports Writer

LOCK HAVEN — The 2019-20 Lock Haven University men’s basketball season has been one of peaks and valley as evidenced by its 11-11 mark.

With a rematch with Bloomsburg the order of the day, the Bald Eagles were looking to take a big step forward to a possible berth in the postseason. The Bald Eagles defeated the Huskies previously on their home floor with a 96-80 win over the Huskies in Nelson Field House.

As for the postseason, with four games remaining in the regular season, LHU finds itself embroiled in a three-way battle for fifth and sixth place in the PSAC-East with Shepherd and Kutztown.

Wednesday night in the rematch with Bloom, the Bald Eagles took a big step forward to a possible post-season berth with an 87-76 win over the Huskies to win the season series 2-0.

“I thought we did a nice job offensively, 17 assists is great,” said a happy LHU head coach Mike Nestor. “Obviously Christian Kelly had a monster night, Jesse (McPherson) played great and Matt (Cerruti) had five assists. As for that part of the game, we were solid. Defensively we were fine, but I thought our energy level could have been higher. In our game with Shippensburg, our energy level was at a great, great place. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to get the win and I think these guys realize that. You have to play with a lot of energy when you are playing in this league because if you don’t, you might take a step back or have a hiccup and you don’t want that to happen this late in the season.”

Leading from the get-go, the Bald Eagles saw their lead cut to two (22-20) with eight minutes left. Stretching their advantage back to nine points, the Bald Eagles held off a late Bloom surge to close out the half with a 40-36 lead.

Unable to pull away, the Bald Eagles maintained a lead in the 3-6 point range through the first nine minutes of the second half until they gained some separation for the double-digit win.

Christian Kelly had a monster game with 34 points and 11 boards, while joining Kelly in doubles were Jesse McPherson with 19 points followed by Matt Cerruti with 14 and Eli Washington with 10 points.

“I would say yeah, this might be my best game since I have been here,” said Kelly. “I felt like I was all over the place during the game, scoring rebounding, blocking shots plus getting my teammates the ball.”

Kelly knows how big this game was and what it means taking matters down the stretch.

“At this point it is do or die,” said Kelly. “Every win matters and we don’t want to be in the position where we have to worry about what another team is doing. All we can do is take care of those things that we can control and win out as much as we can. That is all we worry about now because every game is a big one.”

The Bald Eagles go from one big game to another one when they make the trip to Southeast Pennsylvania and West Chester University this Saturday.

“I am sure that West Chester has a message to deliver to us,” said Nestor. “They have a kid coming off a 50-point night which is unbelievable in this league so I am sure they are going to be focused and rearing to go. They bring a lot of energy to this game because they get to see a lot of family so we just have to come prepared to play.”