Photography by Laurie Thompson
Buckhannon, W. Va. – The West Virginia Wesleyan College Basketball teams played host to the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets Saturday afternoon in two Mountain East Conference match-ups. The Women were upended 70-41, however, the Men avenged a previous loss to the Yellow Jackets with a close knit 74-71 victory.
In the Women's tilt, the Lady Bobcats played a first strong half with the Lady Yellow Jackets but a 6-0 run to close out the first half would give the Yellow Jackets a 27-20 advantage. Wesleyan was led by Brittany Williams as she added six of her team high 14 points in the first half to accompany her four rebounds on the afternoon. The Yellow Jackets were led by Lexy Carson and her 20 points from strong play at the point guard position. Wesleyan struggled from the field on the day going just 17-59 from the floor while their opponents managed shooting 24-57.
After trailing at the half 27-20 the Lady Yellow Jackets managed to pull out to a 34-24 lead five minutes in to the second half they would continually build on. For Wesleyan, different line-up combinations and even mixing up defenses could not stop the Lady Yellow Jackets. Williams would be the lone-scorer in double figures for the Bobcats and KiKi DeVane would add 12 rebounds in the 70-41 loss.
The Men's contest found a Wesleyan team attempting to avenge an earlier loss to a MEC team for the second game in a row after overpowering Charleston Thursday evening in a 78-74 road win. The Yellow Jackets handed the Bobcats a home 82-64 defeat back in early January but Saturday evening was a different story. The Yellow Jackets would claim an early 15-10 lead 10 minutes in to a Wesleyan paced first half before the Bobcats would seize control and take a 34-27 lead in to intermission as senior T.J. Thompson cashed in on 13 of his game high 25 points on 9-15 total shooting. Freshman Aleksandar Djordjevic would add eight points and four assists in the half as well for the 'Cats helping them create the edge.
The second half would begin with West Virginia State pushing the tempo and enforcing their full-court pressure more successfully. They would quickly close the gap and even the score at 47 a piece with 14:29 left in the game. From there both teams would battle for any type of advangtage over the other as each team was fighting for an important win. Trading buckets, the teams would end up at another stalemate at 58 after a Brett Ervin jump shot. Thompson would can another trey before two Yellow Jacket free throws that were followed by a thunderous, one-handed tomahawk dunk that ignited a fading Bobcat crowd by sophomore Tanner McGrew. Despite Yellow Jacket, Bo King, immediately coming back down the floor to tie the game on a long distance three pointer, it was the distinct play that changed the complexity of the game. After King's 3 tied it at 63-63 with 2:44 left in the bout, the Bobcats would close on an 11-7 run, successfully making 4-6 free throws, to earn the victory.
The win for the Men's team gives them 10 conference wins on the season and moves them back in contention for that ever-important First Round bye in the MEC tournament in less than three weeks. The Women fall to a heartfelt 2-18, 0-16 in the MEC and will have the Notre Dame Fighting Falcons coming to town on Thursday. The Women will tip off at 5:30 and the Men will follow 20 minutes after the conclusion.