By Lee Finkelstein
On Saturday Feb. 8, Kutztown’s men’s basketball team defeated West Chester for the first time since 2010 with a final score of 73-70.,.
Freshman point guard Fred Dukes IV, who usually comes off the bench, started his first game of the season and had a career high 18 points. Dukes and sophomore orward Ryan Connolly had a combined 37 points in the game.
After defeating West Chester, currently in second place, Kutztown is now tied for fifth place in the PSAC East with Millersville.
Kutztown overcame a 16-point deficit and did not lead until the last 1:19. Being 18-for-18 from the free throw line in the second half was a key factor in their come-from-behind victory. KU made 26 of its final 27 free throws to seal the deal.
Dukes was 6-for-6 from the stripe, and drained a clutch three-pointer with the shot clock expiring that gave Kutztown its first lead of the game with 1:19 to play. In 33 minutes, he dished out a game-high four assists and snagged four rebounds.
Connolly shot 3-for-4 from the three-point line, and was 100 percent from the free throw line hitting 8-for-8. Six of them came in the final 15 seconds. His 19 points are the most since he scored 20 in the season-opener on Nov. 15. He also pulled down six boards.
“It took us a while to recover from a poor start, but I thought we controlled the tempo in the second half,” head coach Bernie Driscoll said. “Ryan and Fred had great games for us tonight.”
Kutztown’s defense held West Chester to just 33 points in the second half. They trailed by a game-high 16 points with 3:37 to play in the first half. West Chester then made two free throws with two seconds left as KU trailed 37-29 at halftime.
With 2:23 to play, Elijah Jackson made two free throws to bring KU within two (62-60) for the first time of the second half. West Chester continued to make quick driving layups but continued to foul and Kutztown answered by making both free throws.
Point guard Austin Beidelman scored 11 points while fellow freshman Josh Johnson led the team in rebounding with seven.
The Golden Bears continued their road trip wins on Wednesday, Feb. 12 when they won 68-65 against Cheyney University.