MU men fade in second half to Cal
Charles Pemberton and Joe Bell each recorded double-doubles but Mansfield faded in the second half in suffering a 86-74 setback at California (PA) in a PSAC crossover contest Wednesday night.
Mansfield held a slim lead for much of the first half, taking a 24-20 advantage with just under five minutes remaining in the first half on a layup by Charles Becoats. It marked the senior's first action since Dec. 7.
But Cal rallied, using an 11-3 run to take a 31-27 lead into intermission.
Mansfield closed the gap to 33-32 on a free throw by Xavier Warner ninety seconds into the second half and the Mountaineers regained the lead two minutes later at 36-35 on a layup by Bell.
A Pemberton layup gave Mansfield a 38-35 advantage moments later before California responded with an 8-0 run to forge a 43-38 lead on a jumper from Arman Marks.
Cal continued to slowly pull away, taking the first double-digit lead of the night when Tynell Fortune nailed a 3-pointer for a 62-52 lead with just under five minutes to play.
Mansfield didn't retreat.
A Pemberton jumper with 1:54 remaining cut the lead to 74-66 and a jumper by Bell with 73 seconds left put Mansfield down by seven points at 77-70.
Bell closed the gap to 78-72 on a layup fifteen seconds later but Cal connected on four free throws to hold on for the win.
Mansfield outrebounded Cal 41-33 but the Mountaineers shot 16% (2-12) from beyond the arch. Cal made 28-38 from the free throw line to Mansfield's 14-25
Pemberton scored a game and season-high 23 points while pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds. It was his second straight double-double and fourth of the season. Bell also recorded his fourth double-double of the year scoring 19 points with 11 boards. Becoats gave the Mountaineers a much need lift with 12 points, hitting both of Mansfield's 3-pointers in the game. Xavier Warner added 10 points, scoring in double-figures in four of his last five games.
California (6-8) had five players in double-figures led by Jake Jacubec with 19 points.
The game was the final non-divisional contest of the season for the Mountaineers who host PSAC East rival Millersville this Saturday.