Photography by Pete Galarneau, Jr.
Buckhannon, W.Va. – The West Virginia Wesleyan College Basketball teams were in action Saturday afternoon at Rockefeller Center as they played host to the Urbana Blue Knights. The Men breezed to a 91-65 win while the Women suffered a heartbreak defeat 71-68. With the victory the Men's team improves to 11-7 on the year and 6-4 in the MEC while the Women fall to 2-12 on the campaign, 0-10 in MEC play.
The Women faced off with a very talented Blue Knight team who improves their overall record to 11-3 on the season and 8-2 in the MEC. The Lady Bobcats went blow for blow with the Blue Knights as things were knotted at 38 when the teams went in to intermission. Guard Allie Browne led the Bobcats with 11 first half points connecting on three 3-point field goals. Strong bench play for the 'Cats also helped propel the team in the first half of play as each player off the bench found the scoring column.
The second half continued to prove a great game as both teams traded hoops, no team leading by more than seven points at any time. Wesleyan would claim their first lead of the second half 58-56 on a Lafatima Gray jump shot with just under 10:00 minutes left in the game. The 'Cats would pull out to their largest lead, 65-58, on two Adrian Cunningham free throws with just 6:35 left in the contest. However, the Blue Knights, led by DeVonyea Johnson, would not be denied the win as she poured in 11 of her game high 26 in the last 6:00 to help surge Urbana to the comeback 71-68 victory.
The Men's tilt saw the Bobcats control things from the very tip-off as Wesleyan would begin the game on a 15-4 run, never looking back. Four Bobcats would reach double digits, led by senior T.J. Thompson (on his birthday) with 21 points. Taylor Price would drop in 12 of his 15 points in the first period on 6-8 shooting to pace the Bobcats as Wesleyan would use a 55% shooting effort to claim the 38-25 halftime advantage.
The second half would see more of the same domination by the Bobcats as they put up a season high 53 points in the second half against the Blue Knights. Thompson would go a perfect 6-6 from the floor, 3-3 from behind the arc, to add 19 in the period. With senior Ray Warren out for most of the game with an ankle injury, Garrett Grantham did a nice job at the point guard position adding three of his game high eight assists in the second half for the 'Cats. A stingy Wesleyan D would hold Urbana to under 40% shooting for the game as well as outrebound the Blue Knights, slightly, 28-24. All in all, the parts added up to a 91-65 win for Wesleyan that allowed much of the bench for the Bobcats to get some quality action. Guard Soren Dossing contributed seven points off the bench as well as walk-on Chris Tan earning two points from the free throw line in the victory.
The 'Cats will have Monday off before making a road trip to rival Glenville State Thursday, January 23rd in a very important road clash for the Bobcats. The Pioneers and Bobcats are currently sitting beside each other with 6-4 conference records, good enough to be tied for fifth place. The Women will have their hands full with MEC top and nationally ranked Lady Pioneers as they are 9-1 in MEC play. Women are schedule to tip at 5:30 and the Men will follow.