By Lee Finkelstein
The Kutztown University men’s basketball team fell just short of a victory against the Bloomsburg Huskies in the first game of the PSAC playoffs from Nelson Field House. BU took the win with a final score of 82-71. In the last five minutes of play, Bloomsburg went on a 9-0 run which would eventually cost the Golden Bears the game.
KU played the Huskies twice in the past week. This game looked very similar to the Feb. 26 matchup when Bloomsburg began to play lockdown defense.
Similarly to the last two games, KU came out and played hard fresh out of the locker room at the beginning of the second half. They had a 13-4 run to tie the game at 38-38 with 14:35 to play.
Shortly after, the Huskies came back with a 9-2 run to take the lead just before a media timeout. BU went on a 9-0 run right after the breather.
Kutztown dominated the shooting percentage battle, converting 49.1 percent to Bloomsburg’s 34.4 percent, but Bloomsburg out-rebounded KU 47-31, including 23-8 in offensive rebounds. BU also made 20 more free throws.
Sophomore Tracy Peal led KU in scoring with 21 points while shooting 8-for-12. He also had a team-high seven rebounds. Saturday night marked his fourth 20-point game in the last six, and the sixth straight game in which he scored more than his average.
For the season, Peal averaged a career-high 16.9 points (seventh in the PSAC) and 6.3 rebounds per game. His 112 made free throws rank 12th in school history for a single-season, and he will enter his junior season with 748 career points, according to KU’s Sports Information Director Bryan Salvadore.
Kutztown’s starting center Josh Johnson scored in double figures for the 22nd time this season. He also blocked three shots in the game.
Elijah Jackson finished the game with 12 points and junior Fred Dukes IV racked up nine points and dished out five assists.
Three-point specialist Ryan Connolly started on Feb. 15 and scored six points. He had been inactive due to injury.
Lorenzo Christmas led the way for the Huskies, scoring 22 points. It was his first game in double figures against KU this season, with a game-high four three-pointers.