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Vulcans jump into tie for first place

| Monday, Feb. 3, 2003

CALIFORNIA - For the second straight game, the California Vulcans played tremendous defense as they held their opponents to under 50 points for the fourth time this season.

After a not-so-impressive victory over Shippensburg Wednesday, the Vulcans (17-6, 4-1) jumped into a tie for first in the PSAC West after defeating Edinboro, 58-44, Saturday night at Hamer Hall.

Edinboro (13-7, 4-1) was tied with Clarion for the division lead, but the Golden Eagles were upset at home by Shippensburg, 67-66.

Ishmieal Kamara and Ryan Stefanski each scored 16 points to lead all scorers, and Ryan Boles had his second straight impressive game on defense for California.

"Stefanski is getting back into the swing of things, physically," said California coach Bill Brown. "He did a good job defensively and taking the ball to the basket. People expect him to shoot threes, but he got inside and took the medium shot."

Boles led all players with five blocks and 11 rebounds, while contributing six points on offense.

"Boles is tremendously athletic." noted Brown. "He gives us a huge presence on defense."

With the score 9-8 California in the first half, Kamara displayed the skills that make him such a threat on offense. After twisting a defender out of his shoes with a tremendous head-fake, Kamara drained a three-pointer, then followed that up 20 seconds later with a fierce two-hand dunk to extend the lead to six.

Kamara's scoring was part of a 7-0 Cal U run, and Edinboro was never able to get back into the game after that.

"We had to get off to a fast start, and we shot 52 percent in the first half," Brown said.

The Vulcans held the Fighting Scots to 33 percent field goal shooting, 10 points below their season average, and just 9 percent (one of 11) from three-point range. California outrebounded Edinboro 40-39. Entering the game, Edinboro was ranked seventh in Division II basketball in rebounding margin (+10.2).

"Defensively, we played fairly well. We didn't rebound as well as I would've liked, but we did out-rebound Edinboro, and that was key," said Brown.

The Fighting Scots had four players averaging double figures but only Rob Sims (15) and Jakim Donaldson (10) scored 10 or more points.

"If we could've kept Sims contained, we'd be alright."said Brown. " They only scored 44 points, so we did a decent job."

Neither team scored much from the foul line. The Vulcans were a dismal four of 12 with Edinboro hitting one of five.

"I would be concerned with the missed free throws if we had lost," said Brown. "But tonight we were able to overcome that."

The Vulcans have won five games in a row, including four in the PSAC West, and are deadlocked with Clarion and Edinboro for first in the division. They will travel to Slippery Rock Wednesday.

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