Photography by Laurie Thompson
Buckhannon, W.Va. --The West Virginia Wesleyan College Basketball teams played host to MEC foe the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Rockefeller Center. The games were a large part of the campus' Orange and Black Day that provide a blueprint for incoming freshman athletes. In the Women's tilt the Lady Cardinals ousted the Bobcats 69-59 while the Men captured the 62-47 victory to bounce back after Thursday's West Liberty loss.
After an exciting first half of play and only finding themselves down five points 32-27, the Lady Cardinals began the second half with an 8-0 run extending their lead to 10 that they would, ultimately, hold on to for the 69-59 victory. The Lady Bobcats were led by Kacey Johnson with 16 points and KiKi DeVane as she tallied a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds while the Lady Cards were paced by Breanna Butler as she also collected a double-double of her own adding a game-high 21 points to go with her 10 rebounds.
Foul trouble by DeVane and Brittany Williams altered the rotation and the style of play the Bobcats resorted to in the second half down the stretch as they tried to mount their comeback but timely Cardinal hoops along with strong ball control kept the Lady 'Cats at arm's length. Despite several valiant attempts, Wesleyan could draw no closer as the final horn sounded 69-59, Lady Cardinals.
The loss for the Lady 'Cats leaves them with two more opportunities to get a Mountain East Conference win for the season. Like the Men, they will travel to Shepherd on Wednesday then back here for conference number one, Glenville State.
The Men's contest saw the Bobcats jump out of the gates quickly claiming an early lead that the 'Cats would never really be in jeopardy of losing. After a Brett Ervin layup with 7:36 remaining the in first half, Wesleyan would claim their largest lead yet at 25-8. Wesleyan continued their domination of the first half as the 'Cats took an 18 point lead, 36-18 in to the break.
With the lead on their side, the Bobcats came out of the locker room a little flat allowing Wheeling Jesuit to never be completely shut out. The Cardinals would fight their way back to as close as seven, 55-48, before Tanner McGrew would answer with four straight points of his team-high 16 off the bench. McGrew would be accompanied in double digits by other Bobcats, Ervin, senior T.J. Thompson, and Garrett Grantham in a well balanced attack.
The victory for the Men moves them in to 4th place, alone, in the MEC with two important tests remaining; at Shepherd in a make-up game Wednesday the 26th and back here at Rockefeller Center next Saturday, March, 1st in the final regular season battle with current 5th seed, Glenville State. The Pioneers will have one full week of practice to prepare for the 'Cats after suffering a home loss today to West Liberty. With the Charleston Golden Eagles sitting in 3rdplace, also having two remaining contests, it looks like the Bobcats could find themselves anywhere from 3rd to 6th position in the MEC with Fairmont State lurking at the current 6th position. Where it gets hazy for the Bobcats is if at the end of the regular season they are tied with Fairmont State as the Falcons hold the tie-breaking edge due to regular season play between the two teams. However, if Wesleyan wins both games, despite what any of the other teams do, they will wind up at worst in 4th place and with a first round bye in the MEC tournament, not to mention earning a 20 win season.