For the first time since 2015, Millersville playoff basketball returned to Pucillo Gym Monday night. The Marauders took on the Kutztown Golden Bears and looked to advance in the PSAC tournament with a win. It was an even match up coming in as both teams had a regular season record of 16-13.
As the first half got underway both teams showed that their offenses were fast paced and could put up points. It was a back and forth half, but Millersville had the lead over Kutztown 42-38.
Justin Nwosu had 16 points in the half, and Jaden Faulkner went 5-5 from the field for 13 first half points.
Feeling good at halftime Millersville was ready to put Kutztown away in the second half. However, the offense went cold. Open looks, layups, jumpers, any kind of shot the Marauders took it would not find the net. It was like a lid was on the basket.
Millersville only shot 34.3 percent from the field and that is not going to cut it for a win, especially in the playoffs. The Marauders went 10-38 shooting and missed a total of 15 threes in the second half. It was Millersville’s lowest scoring half of the season.
Kutztown came out in the second and did not slow down once. Going 15 of 32 from the field and made 15 of 18 free throws, Kutztown outscored Millersville 48-28 in the second half.
The Marauders started the second half making four of their first five shots, but it was a key Kutztown defensive decision that would trip up the Millersville offense. Kutztown switched to a zone defense which caused Millersville to miss their next eight shots, which included four attempts from three-point range.
After that Kutztown ran away with the game out scoring Millersville 32-7 in the next 13 minutes. With Millersville down, they couldn’t run their usual half-court defense which ultimately led to the fast pace Golden Bears offense to get hot.
Kutztown was able to get out in transition and get their offense in a rhythm that allowed them to score the amount of points they did in the second half.
Millersville’s offense just had no answer as their shots would not fall ending in an 86-70 loss against Kutztown. Millersville only shot .343 percent from the field and shot .160 from three. Their free throws wouldn’t sink either only shooting .606 percent from the charity stripe.
Even though Millersville lost, there is still a lot to be excited about for the Marauders in the upcoming seasons.
Millersville has the second youngest roster in the PSAC, and they managed to get a home playoff game which shows how good the young talent is. Nwosu and Faulkner are both freshmen and they put up 42 points combined in the game. Faulkner scored 400 points this season and that is the most by any freshmen since 2004.
The Marauders won 16 games this year which is an improvement from last year where Millersville went 10-19 and had a conference record of 8-14.
Coach Stitzel is staying optimistic and knows his team can get better and they will. The Marauders are a young talented team and will become a force in the PSAC for years to come.