KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Ethan Ridgeway tied a 15-year-old school record by dishing out 13 assists in the No. 19 Kutztown University men’s basketball team’s 94-80 victory over Clarion in its Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) crossover finale on Jan. 3 in Keystone Arena.
The junior matched the mark set by Rodney Shorter in 1987 and Jeff Brickus in 2001.
Ridgeway added 13 points on the night for his second career double-double. He reached 10 assists at the 14:23 mark of the second half and the 13th assist came with 5:42 remaining, as he moved into eighth place in program history with 294 career assists – six shy of becoming the eighth Golden Bear with 300 for his career, as well as just the third junior to do so.
As a team KU (5-2 PSAC, 9-2) had 25 assists, one shy of a season-high, en route to a 54.1 percent (33-61) shooting performance – its second highest percentage of the season. The 94 points were the Maroon and Gold’s third most in 2015-16.
Josh Johnson led all players with 23 points – one shy of a season-high – on 7-of-10 shooting and 8-of-11 free throws. He also had team-highs of seven rebounds, three steals and one block.
Anthony Lee and Dan Cuevas also shot the ball efficiently. Lee was one point shy of his second consecutive 20-point game as he made 7-of-11 from the floor and 4-of-6 from beyond the arch, while Cuevas went 7-of-12 en route to 15 points. Lee added five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, and Cuevas matched a new season-high with seven rebounds.
Ryan Connolly chipped in with 11 points on 3-6 3-point shooting as all five KU starters scored in double-figures.
Austin Beidelman and Max Wagner rounded out Kutztown’s scoring with six and five points, respectively.
Cameron Grumley (3-4, 5-7) paced Clarion with 17 points and added eight rebounds and a team-high four assists, while BJ Andrews finished with a double-double of 15 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
KU trailed for just less than three minutes on the night after Clarion pushed its largest lead to five, 36-31, thanks to nine unanswered that was capped by 3-pointer with 5:46 remaining in the first half.
Kutztown quickly responded with a 10-2 run, the final eight of which were scored by Johnson, to jump back on top, and despite Clarion regaining the lead momentarily it was the Golden Bears who took an advantage into the locker room. Johnson nailed a 3-pointer to extend his streak of KU points scored to 13, and Ridgeway tallied the final points of the half on a layup with an even minute left to make the score 48-44.
That lead stayed between two and five for the opening minutes of the second half before
Kutztown took control of the contest for good, beginning with a Lee 3-pointer at the 16:59 mark. That sparked a 10-1 surge that included a Connolly triple and five straight points from Wagner, and that was emphatically ended with a Johnson dunk to make the score 66-53 with 14:08 to play.
Clarion did have one final push as it scored the next six points, but this time it was a 21-5 run that all but sealed the victory for Kutztown as the Maroon and Gold held the Golden Eagles without a field goal for 6:47. Beidelman scored six straight points in the stretch at one point, before Cuevas ended it with six of the final eight points, including a layup for the Golden Bears’ largest lead, 87-64, with just 5:21 left.
Earlier in the day, KU remained in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II Rankings for the sixth consecutive poll to open the season. The Maroon and Gold’s only two setbacks this season have come to fellow ranked PSAC schools – No. 14 Shippensburg and No. 16 Indiana (Pa.). Take into account No. 2 Fairmont State, No. 4 West Liberty and No. 8 Wheeling Jesuit, and the Atlantic Region is home to six of the top-19 ranked programs in Division II basketball.
Northwest Missouri State remained the top-ranked team, receiving 12 of a possible 16 first-place votes. Fairmont State garnered the other four, with Queens and Angelo State joining West Liberty in rounding out the top-five.
Kutztown returns to PSAC East play at Lock Haven on Friday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Team12TotalRecordsClarion4436805-7, 3-4 PSACKutztown4846949-2, 5-2 PSACGame DetailsDate01/03/17Time7:35 p.m.Attendance253SiteKutztown, Pa. (Keystone Arena)RefereesJohn Leighton, Andrew Marotta and Gary DudaClarion 80Clarion 80##PlayerGSFGM-FGA3FGM-3FGAFTM-FTAOFF-DEFTOTPFTPATOBLKSTLMIN1GRUMLEY, Cameron*5-92-45-61-7841742123833WILLIAMS, Akeem*4-50-07-105-7124154231360ANDREWS, BJ*5-113-52-22-4641522013221GRANT, Justin*5-101-31-11-122120311353POWELL, Manny*4-131-31-21-0141046012424MORTON JR., Kwame 2-82-50-10-22161100112LAUGAND, RJ 1-31-12-20-002511022310MURRAY, Bo 0-00-00-00-001000001TMTEAM 0-00-00-01-010001000 Totals-26-5910-2118-2411-21322280161858200 Team Total % 44.1 %47.6 %75.0 % Team summary: FG3FGFT First Half 15-298-126-7 51.72 %66.67 %85.71 % Second Half 11-302-912-17 36.67 %22.22 %70.59 % Technical Fouls:nonePoints in the Paint:30Points off Turnovers:14Second Chance Points:9Fast Break Points:13Bench Points:11Scores Tied:1 time(s)Lead Changed:2 time(s)Largest Lead:5 1st-05:46Kutztown 94Kutztown 94##PlayerGSFGM-FGA3FGM-3FGAFTM-FTAOFF-DEFTOTPFTPATOBLKSTLMIN14JOHNSON, Josh*7-101-38-112-5722324132923LEE, Anthony*7-114-61-11-453193312323RIDGEWAY, Ethan*5-102-43-50-44115135003232CUEVAS, Dan*7-120-01-22-5731513002620CONNOLLY, Ryan*3-83-62-21-561111000345BEIDELMAN, Austin 2-51-31-20-221610122442WAGNER, Max 2-31-10-00-00352001924KELLY, Christian 0-00-00-00-00200000510HICKS, Ricky 0-20-00-00-00101000411SELLARS, Howard 0-00-00-00-00001000430BENNETT, Demetrius 0-00-00-00-000000001TMTEAM 0-00-00-03-140001000 Totals-33-6112-2316-239-26351794251638200 Team Total % 54.1 %52.2 %69.6 % Team summary: FG3FGFT First Half 18-336-116-8 54.55 %54.55 %75.00 % Second Half 15-286-1210-15 53.57 %50.00 %66.67 % Technical Fouls:nonePoints in the Paint:38Points off Turnovers:18Second Chance Points:14Fast Break Points:20Bench Points:11Scores Tied:0 time(s)Lead Changed:2 time(s)Largest Lead:23 2nd-05:21