By Zach Ransom
The KU men’s basketball team had their PSAC season end with a devastating 74-72 loss to Shippensburg in a PSAC Quarterfinal game at Keystone Arena on March 1.
The Golden Bears entered the game as the number one overall seed in the PSAC Tournament and had home court advantage in the tournament after winning the PSAC East Division Championship Feb. 24 against West Chester and were expected to make a deep run in the PSAC Tournament.
The Golden Bears struggled mightily from the three point line, shooting just two for 17.
The Bears shot just 44 percent from the field and 58 percent from the free throw line.
The game was dramatic as the Bears were forced to rally from seven points down in the final minute and 16 seconds before Shippensburg guard Abe Masserly hit a game-winning jumper with less than two seconds to play.
Junior forward Josh Johnson led KU with 19 points and seven rebounds and shot 8-15 from the field, but was just 3-6 from the free throw line. Johnson scored nine points in the second half and made several clutch buckets.
Junior guard Austin Beidelman was only able to score five points on 2-8 shooting.
Beidelman also suffered an ankle injury early in the first half but was able to return after missing just two minutes.
Redshirt freshman guard Anthony Lee secured a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds on 6-12 shooting from the field in 27 minutes of action.
Shippensburg led 72-65 with 1:24 remaining before Lee hit KU’s second three-pointer of the night to cut the lead to four.
The Bears’ stout defense led to back-to-back Raider turnovers, which the Bears turned into a layup from Anthony Lee and two clutch free throws from Ryan Connolly to tie the game at 72 with 29 seconds left.
The Keystone Arena crowd was at a fever pitch for the final Raider possession.
Shippensburg’s Abe Masserly pulled up from inside the free throw line over Lee and hit the shot with less than two seconds remaining. A half court heave from Ethan Ridgeway went wide of the basket to end the game.
KU players and fans were stunned as the Golden Bears’ PSAC season came to a disappointing end.
The rebounding battle was almost even as KU grabbed 41 boards while the Raiders grabbed 40 rebounds.
The turnover battle was also about even as KU had 14 turnovers, which the Raiders turned into 17 points and the Raiders had 15 turnovers, which the Golden Bears turned into 20 points.