Photography by Pete Galarneau, Jr.
Buckhannon, W.Va. – The West Virginia Wesleyan College Basketball teams were upended Saturday afternoon at Rockefeller Center in Mountain East Conference play to the Fairmont State Fighting Falcons. The Women were defeated 70-56 while the Men lost 64-57.
In the Women's match up four Lady Falcons scored double figures, led by Halley Garrett's 22 points, to take the victory. For most of the contest, the Lady Bobcats matched up toe to toe with the favored Falcons, however a midway second half run by the Falcons over a gassed Bobcat squad proved to be the difference. Wesleyan's Brittany Williams would score 14 of her team high 18 points in the first period pacing the 'Cats. And despite forcing 12 first half Falcon turnovers and attempting 12 free throws the Bobcats found themselves down 31-27 at the half due to some high percentage (48%) shooting from Fairmont State.
Wesleyan jumped out to a 34-33 early in the second half on an Allie Browne 3-pointer but the Falcons would soon reclaim the lead 35-34. The Bobcats' Kacey Johnson would tie the game at 41 on a jumper with 14:33 left in the game but that's when the Falcons went on their game changing 17-0 run that, ultimately, placed the game out of reach for the Bobcats. Wesleyan would give it their best effort but time would not end up on their side and the final horn sounded at 70-56, Falcons.
In a fast paced, lower level rugby contest witnessed in the Men's affair, the Falcons would outlast the Bobcats in a bruising 64-57 old school feel clash as both teams combined for 37 free throws and 34 fouls. The Falcons' Brendan Cooper led the way off the bench, collecting a double-double, with 17 points and 11 rebounds as Fairmont State had to overcome a slow start to pull out the victory. Also off the bench, Tanner McGrew would lead Wesleyan with 14 points and seven rebounds as well as adding three blocks in 25 minutes of action. However a rough overall shooting night from the floor (36%) moreover a struggle from long distance (3-18 from three) plagued the 'Cats. Senior T.J. Thompson would join McGrew in double figures with 14, however, the Falcon defense did a pretty good job pressuring Thompson and other sharpshooters like Brett Ervin and Chris Dewberry to keep the Bobcats in check for most of the contest as well as forcing 15 Wesleyan turnovers.
After claiming a one point halftime lead, 28-27, the Falcons would begin the second half on an 8-0 run they were able to keep through the duration of the game. A technical foul by the Falcons where Thompson would add two extra free throws plus an Aleksandar Djordjevic And-1 would bring the 'Cats back to within two at 43-41 with 10:08 left in the contest but that is as close as Wesleyan would come the rest of the evening. The Falcons would answer with another run extending their lead back to an arm's length as the clock winded down on the Bobcats. The final tally would read 64-57 Falcons and for the first time in a while the Men's team is looking at back-to-back conference losses.
With the losses the teams will take back to the hardwood Monday as they make the journey to Shepherd to do battle with the Rams. Both teams were defeated earlier this season by the Rams in Rockefeller Center. The Women's game will begin at 5:30pm and the Men will follow at 7:00pm.