BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats recorded their biggest win of the season here Thursday night with 56-53 victory over the University of Charleston Golden Eagles in a Mountain East Conference contest.
Charleston entered the game with a 15-6 record and was in fourth place in the MEC with a 10-5 record.
But Wesleyan used a smothering first-half defense and some clutch free throwing shooting at the end of the game to end their three-game losing streak.
The 'Cats improved to 9-13 overall and 7-9 in the MEC.
Points were at a premium in the first half as Wesleyan owned a 25-16 lead at the break.
The 'Cats held Charleston to a 6-of-18 shooting performance in the first half.
Jevonte Hughes started the game with a dunk for Charleston. It was the only lead the Golden Eagles would have as Wesleyan went on an 8-0 run.
Charleston would close the score to 21-16, but Grantham made a lay-up and Tanner McGrew made a short jumper to take that 25-16 lead at the break.
Wesleyan used the first six minutes of the second half to extend their lead to 12, at 34-22.
Charleston went on a 9-0 run to close the gap to 34-31 with 9:04 remaining.
Shell ended the run with a lay-up and Anthony Richards bombed in a three-pointer to push the Wesleyan lead back to eight at 39-31 with 6:18 left.
A Shell lay-up gave Wesleyan a nine-point lead at 43-34 with 4:18 showing on the clock.
It was the last field goal Wesleyan would make as the rest of their scoring came from the free throw line.
Charleston cut the lead to two after a Vincent Dillard three-pointer with 26 seconds left that made the score 52-50.
Dewberry made two free throws, and after Chris Evans made one for Charleston, Grantham made two more free throws to give Wesleyan a 56-51 advantage with seven seconds left.
Charleston made two free throws with three seconds left to wrap up the scoring.
McGrew recorded his 13th double-double of the year with 11 points and 17 rebounds.
Dewberry scored a team-high 12 points.
Shell and Grantham each had nine points.
Wesleyan will return to action this Saturday when they travel to West Virginia State for a 4 p.m. tip-off.
(Photo courtesy of Peter Galarneau Jr.)