Photography by Laurie Thompson
Glenville, W.Va. -- The Wesleyan Basketball teams were back on the hardwood Thursday evening as both teams traveled to the home of the Glenville State Pioneers do battle in MEC play. The Women were matched up with the league number one Lady Pioneers, and they proved it, as they manhandled the Lady Bobcats 122-64 to remain at the top of the Mountain East. The Bobcat Men's team entered the evening tied with the Pioneers at 6-4 in the conference, good for an all-important fourth position, and prevailed with an 87-78 victory to claim the outright spot.
The Women's game would see an overwhelming Lady Pioneer team lay in to the Bobcats as they took the game right from the tip. Glenville would force 29 Lady Bobcat turnovers while only coughing it up six times themselves. This lead to six Pioneers in double figures led by Tiffani Huffman with 23 off the bench. Wesleyan was led by Allie Browne with 14 and KiKi DeVane with 13 points on the evening but a stifling Lady Pioneer defense would hold the Bobcats to an overall 35% shooting effort on the night. All in all a nationally ranked Pioneer team would amass 66 first half points and cruise to an easy victory.
The Men's game was a much different story for the Bobcats. A pivotal contest between two teams with a historic rivalry proved to be another great contest as Wesleyan prevailed 87-78. Four Bobcats reached double figures as seniors T.J. Thompson and Brett Ervin, once again, led the charge. Thompson, who finished with 23, was a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line leading his team to a clutch 18-22 performance from the charity stripe. Connecting on five long range 3's, Ervin would chime in with 19 as Aleksandar Djordjevic had a solid 12 points with seven assists in the outing.
The Bobcats took, what proved to be the difference as both teams played an equal second period, a nine point lead in to the intermission after outscoring the Pioneers 40-31. In his usual pick-me-up role, Chris Dewberry ignited the run that seemed to separate the two teams as he dropped in a quick eight points with two 3's and two free throws that pushed the Bobcat lead out to seven. The Pioneers would later inch closer on two Lamar Malloy free throws bringing the game to 33-31 but a 7-0 run before the break sparked by Thompson would give the Bobcats the cushion they needed.
Wesleyan would come out in the second half and control the first ten minutes jumping out to their largest lead thus far at 10:55 left in the contest at 60-41. After trading baskets Wesleyan would extend their lead to the largest of the night at 68-45 after a Tanner McGrew layup but a scrappy Pioneer team would not go away easily as desperation set in with just under eight minutes left in the game. Hitting one of only four team 3-pointers, as the Bobcats held Glenville to 4-22 shooting from behind the arc, the Pioneers surged a last attempt that would bring them as close as 11 before some meaningless points at the end of the game that would bring the final tally to 87-78.
The victory for the Men puts them in the fourth place in the conference at 7-4, and if the season ended today would set them up for a first round bye in the MEC tournament. The loss for the Women keeps them winless in the MEC for the season, and ultimately last place for the time being. Both teams get another opportunity, however, as they travel to UVa-Wise this Saturday for more conference play.