KU ends historic season in loss to IUP
FAIRMONT, W.VA. >> A historic campaign for the No. 10 Kutztown University men’s basketball team came to an end with a 94-80 loss to No. 8 Indiana (Pa.) in the first round of the Atlantic Regional at Joe Retton Arena on Saturday night.
KU (26-4) ends its season with the second-most wins in a single season in program history, trailing only the 2008-09 team’s 28. Notably, the Golden Bears set the school record with 18 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) victories and tied a 100-yearold record with an 18-game win streak.
Trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, and six at halftime, KU cut the deficit to three twice early in the second half, the latter of the two coming when a Dan Cuevas (Stroudsburg, Pa./Stroudsburg) jumper made the score 44-47 just 2:07 out of the locker room.
IUP (28-3) scored the next 10 points though, over 2:30 to extend the lead back to 13 with 15:23 remaining, and Kutztown was not able to make it a one-possession game the rest of the night.
The closest KU came was within five twice, including when Austin Beidelman (Schnecksville, Pa./Parkland)’s layup made it 67-72 with 7:39 to go.
The game was still within reach at 76-83 after an Anthony Lee (Willow Grove, Pa./Abington) layup with 4:18 left, but Indiana put the contest out of reach by answering with a 7-0 run.
Freshman Max Wagner (Perkasie, Pa./Pennridge) led Kutztown with a careerhigh 14 points, surpassing his previous career-best with 10 in the first half. All three of his career-high three steals also came before the break.
Lee and Ethan Ridgeway (West Chester, Pa./Bayard Rustin) added 13 points apiece. Lee made one threepointer to end the season with 67, tied for ninth in the program annals, while Ridgeway dished out three assists to increase his program record to 260, which moved him into fifth in PSAC single-season history. He also made two free throws to move into a tie for eighth in KU history with 133 this season.
Senior Josh Johnson (Norristown, Pa./Norristown) ended his historic career with 12 points and five rebounds. He ends his four years second in Kutztown history with 883 rebounds and third with 1,702 points.
Also ending their careers and run in the record books on Saturday night was Ryan Connolly (Harleysville, Pa./ Souderton Area) and Beidelman.
JOHNSON NAMED TO D2CCA
ALL-ATLANTIC TEAM >> Senior Josh Johnson (Norristown, Pa./Norristown) of the No. 10 Kutztown University men’s basketball team became the second player in program history to be selected All-Region twice, as the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) released its All-Atlantic Region Men’s Basketball Team on Monday.
The Atlantic Region, home to five of the top-10 teams in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Men’s Basketball Poll, is arguably the deepest Region in Division II basketball.
Johnson was named to the Second Team for a second consecutive year, joining Stephen Dennis (200809 & 2009-10) as the only player in KU men’s basketball history to be recognized as All-Region twice in a career. Dave Ben (200809) is the only other Golden Bear to have ever received the accolade of All- Region.
The honor adds to a growing list of accolades for Johnson, who has also been selected All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East three times, including being voted the 2016 PSAC East Athlete of the Year and 2017 PSAC East Defensive Athlete of the Year to become the first player in league history to receive both honors. He was also named the 2016 KU Male Athlete of the Year and was selected to the 2017 Lehigh Valley Small College Basketball Media Organization’s Team of the Year.
BIRMINGHAM, ALA. >> Austin Petril (Clifton Heights, Pa./Upper Darby (Ursinus)) finished fourth, T.C. Warner (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley (Bloomsburg)) finished fifth and Ryan Appleby (Belvidere, N.J./Belvidere) finished eighth to wrap up Kutztown University’s wrestling weekend at the NCAA National Championships at the Crossplex in downtown Birmingham.
All three Golden Bears became first-time All-Americans on Friday night, the first time in program history KU has donned three in a season.
Through the third session, Kutztown stands in 15th place with 26.5 points. If it holds through Saturday night’s finals, it would be the second-best team finish in school history (14th, 2015).
Petril opened his day in the 125-pound national semifinal against thirdranked Ivan McClay of Notre Dame College (Ohio). Petril was taken down early and continued to battle with escape points and erasing riding time, but despite earning his first takedown of the match in the third period and finishing on top, he was unable to turn McClay for any needed back points as he fell to McClay for the second time this season by decision, 7-6.
He responded by winning his ensuring match against fifth-ranked Alan Diltz of Seton Hill, 8-5, to move on to the third-place match.
Petril had a tall task in front of him in the thirdplace match, top-ranked Brett Velasquez of Saint Cloud State. Velasquez jumped out early and never looked back in a 12-2 major decision over Petril.
Petril finished in fourthplace and closes his junior season with 23 wins.
Warner competed in the 165-pound national semifinal, going up against No. 1 Isaiah White of Notre Dame. Warner was unable to topple the top-ranked wrestler in Division II, dropping an 8-1 decision.
He went up next against Nebraska-Kearney’s Calvin Ochs for the second time of the tournament. Warner won the first meeting by decision, but fell 1-0 Saturday on a riding time point. Warner moved on to the fifthplace match against Alonzo Turner for the second time this weekend. As he did in the first meeting, Warner prevailed with a 6-2 win to finish in fifth place.
Appleby dropped his third match of the season to Gannon’s Nick Budd to open his Saturday, a 3-1 decision. He went on to compete in the seventh-place match, dropping a 12-9 decision to No. 1 Caleb Cotter of Central Oklahoma.
All three Golden Bears completed their junior seasons and will return for their senior seasons next year.
For the second straight week, and the sixth time in her career, Savannah Nierintz (Clifton Heights, Pa./ Upper Darby) of the Kutztown University softball team was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East Pitcher of the Week it was announced on Monday.
Nierintz helped KU (95) to two wins on the first two days of its Spring Break trip this past weekend. She posted a 2-0 record with a 3.18 ERA in two completegame wins, while holding a 20/2 strikeout/walk ratio.
In a 5-3 victory over Saint Anselm on Saturday, March 11, Nierintz held the Hawks scoreless through the first five innings and struck out six batters in the completegame effort. She then threw a career-high nine innings on Sunday, allowing only six hits with nine strikeouts and no walks to help Kutztown hold off Drury 6-5 in extra innings.
Nierintz is currently a PSAC-best 6-1 on the year with a league-high six complete games, two shutouts and one save. She also leads the conference with 57.1 innings pitched and is third with 48 strikeouts. Her 1.71 ERA ranks 10th.
Kutztown’s Josh Johnson was named to the D2CCA AllAtlantic Region team.