CUP Weekend Roundup: Women’s Hoops Beats IUP; Wrestling, Men’s Hoops Lose

Delrika Jones-Carey
CLARION, Pa. – The Clarion women’s basketball team controlled all facets of the game in victory on Saturday, using a balanced effort to defeat the IUP Crimson Hawks 64-59 at Tippin Gymnasium.

The Golden Eagles (12-7, 9-4 PSAC) won their first game against the Crimson Hawks since Feb. 19, 2011, snapping a 10-game skid against IUP in the process.

All eight players to see the court contributed in some way to the win, with Delrika Jones-Carey authoring a 12-point, nine-rebound performance over the course of a season-high 37 minutes. Jordan Bekelja filled the stat sheet with 19 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Tyra Polite added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Clarion held IUP to a 30.6 field goal percentage in the first half in taking a 26-24 advantage at the halftime break. The big moment came in the third quarter when the Golden Eagles outpaced the Crimson Hawks 23-16, and then held off a rally by IUP in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

Holding a two-point lead entering the start of the third quarter, Bekelja scored a second-chance point at the 8:31 mark to put Clarion ahead 29-24. She put the Golden Eagles ahead by three possessions with a make in the paint at the 6:40 mark, and the Clarion lead reached 37-29 on a midrange jumper by Jen Straw with 5:11 to go in the period. Polite kept it a three-score game with a drive and make down the stretch, and Jones-Carey knocked down a jumper from the elbow with seven seconds remaining in the third quarter to put Clarion ahead 49-40 entering the fourth.

IUP pulled as close as 59-57 after a three-pointer with 1:28 left in regulation, but Clarion went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch to keep them at arm’s length. The Crimson Hawks made just one more field goal the rest of the way as the Golden Eagle defense clamped down.

That same defense had done a good job of clamping down early in the first quarter when both teams were struggling to make shots. IUP led by as many as five points in the opening stanza, going up 11-6 on a transition make from Caroyln Appleby. Maniah Robinson cut that lead to just one point at the end of the quarter, though, making a jumper with 13 seconds left to slice the advantage to 13-12. Clarion had the lead for good less than two minutes in to the second quarter, when Polite laid one in to put the Golden Eagles up 18-16.

Clarion has been without second-leading scorer Quorea Pearyer since mid-December for what is believed to be a grade eligibility issue.

WRESTLING LOSES TO MICHIGAN STATE AT MERWICK-BOYD

CLARION, Pa. – The Clarion wrestling team saw its three-match win streak snapped on Sunday, falling to a tough Michigan State team by a 23-9 score. The match was held on the stage at Marwick-Boyd Auditorium, the first competition of its kind at the theater, in front of a devoted crowd of hundreds. The Golden Eagles (4-7, 1-2 EWL) will be back in action on Feb. 2 against Lock Haven.

The Spartans claimed seven of the 10 bouts but the match was much closer between the lines than on the team scoreboard. Three matches were decided by late scores to break deadlocks as the two teams were very evenly matched throughout the lineup.

Brock Zacherl claimed an impressive win over a ranked opponent at 141 pounds, downing 21st-ranked Javier Gasca III for Clarion’s first win of the day. Two of the nation’s best at their weight class, they stayed at arm’s length for much of the bout, with Zacherl leading 3-0 after two periods thanks to a late double-leg takedown. Gasca put Zacherl on the proverbial ropes late but was unable to finish the takedown at Zacherl secured the win.

Dom Rigous notched the next win for Clarion, putting together a very impressive effort at 174 pounds to beat Logan Ritchie. After Ritchie brought Rigous down midway through the first period, Rigous quickly countered and reversed it to tie the score. Rigous opened the second period with another reversal in the second period to go ahead 4-2, and then tacked on a takedown late in the third to seal the deal. The riding time advantage gave Rigous the 7-2 decision.

Rounding out the wins for Clarion was Dustin Conti, who outfoxed Matt Okaiye at 197 pounds. An excellent counter-wrestler, Conti sidestepped a pair of shots by Okaiye and turned them into takedowns of his own. He carried a 5-0 lead into the third period and effectively stayed out of harm’s way for the remainder to take the win.

Michigan State 23, Clarion 9
125: Mitch Rogaliner (Michigan State) over Jake Gromacki (Clarion) (Dec 9-4)
133: Austin Eicher (Michigan State) over Roshaun Cooley (Clarion) (Dec 4-2)
141: Brock Zacherl (Clarion) over Javier Gasca III (Michigan State) (Dec 3-1)
149: Nicholas Trimble (Michigan State) over Jake Keller (Clarion) (MD 10-1)
157: Austin Thompson (Michigan State) over Taylor Cahill (Clarion) (MD 12-3)
165: Drew Hughes (Michigan State) over Evan Delong (Clarion) (Dec 1-0)
174: Dominic Rigous (Clarion) over Gary (Logan) Ritchie (Michigan State) (Dec 7-2)
184: Shwan Shadaia (Michigan State) over Scott Marmoll (Clarion) (Dec 4-2)
197: Dustin Conti (Clarion) over Matt Okaiye (Michigan State) (Dec 7-2)
285: Jacob Cooper (Michigan State) over Evan Delong (Clarion) (Dec 10-4)

MEN’S BASKETBALL NO MATCH FOR NO. 10 IUP

CLARION, Pa. – Sophomores Dante Lombardi (Indiana, Pa./The Kiski School) and Jacobo Diaz (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain/CBA Gran Canaria) shined on Saturday afternoon, leading 10th-ranked IUP men’s basketball to a 70-52 victory at Clarion in the Tippin Gymnasium.

Lombardi tied a career-high with 22 points, drilling four three-pointers, while Diaz notched his eighth double-double of the year with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

The victory was the eighth straight for the Crimson Hawks, as they improved to 17-2 overall and 12-1 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). They also stay two games up on second place Gannon (12-5, 10-3) for the PSAC Western Division lead.

Although the Crimson Hawks shot just 39.0 percent from the field, their defense turned the heat up on the opposite end of the floor by forcing Clarion into 19 turnovers. IUP had 10 total steals, getting three each from Lombardi and Diaz, and two more from senior guard Brandon Spain (Baltimore, Md./Glen Burnie). IUP also limited the Golden Eagles to a 38.0 field goal percentage.

Spain and freshman guard Malik Miller (Farrell, Pa./Farrell) also reached double-figures in scoring, adding 11 and 10 points off the bench, respectively.

The Crimson Hawks were again successful from the foul line, going 15-of-16 from the charity stripe. They’ve hit 83 percent or better from the line in five of their last six games, and eight total times this year.

BJ Andrews led the Clarion offensively finishing with a team-high 13 points to go along with four rebounds in 27 minutes of action. Cam Grumely led the Golden Eagles in assists with four, while Jamani Pierce finished with the team lead in rebounds with nine.


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