CHARLESTON – A slow start cost the No. 7 seeded West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats in their Mountain East Conference Quarterfinal match-up with the No. 2 seeded Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals today at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Bobcats fell behind by a 12-0 score early and never recovered en route to a 67-51 setback.
"The biggest difference of the game was the first five minutes," remarked head coach Gary Nottingham. "They came out and punched us in the nose and we weren't ready."
Wheeling Jesuit forced Wesleyan into tough shot after tough shot as Wesleyan made just 14 field goals and owned a 29.8 shooting percentage.
"Wheeling Jesuit is where they are at for a reason," Nottingham said. "They were just more physical and tougher than we were today. For us to be successful, we have to be active on the court. We were spectators in the first half. The second half was better for us, but it was too late by then."
Garrett Grantham finally put Wesleyan on the board at the 14:12 mark to make it a 12-3 game.
The closest Wesleyan could shrink the first-half lead was eight points after Tanner McGrew knocked down a free throw to make it a 14-6 game 10:56 left in the first half.
Wheeling Jesuit pushed their lead to 18 at the half, at 37-19.
The Cardinals made a free throw and a basket to start the second half to own their biggest lead of the game, at 21, at 40-19.
Wesleyan whittled the lead down to 12 after a Mo Berchie three-pointer, at 49-37, with 11:39 left in the game.
The Bobcats couldn't shrink the lead anymore as Wheeling Jesuit pulled away the last 10 minutes for their 16-point victory.
McGrew earned a tough double-double today as he scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Fred Brondsted (pictured) was the only other Bobcat to reach double digits as he scored 10 points.
Berchie and Clay Todd each had nine points.
Wesleyan ends their year with a 17-13 record.
Wheeling Jesuit improved to 28-2 and will advance to the MEC semifinals Saturday afternoon.