FAIRMONT -- West Virgnia Wesleyan's men battled perennial national power Fairmont down to the wire Saturday afternoon, eventually falling to the Falcons 83-77. The game featured 23 lead changes, and the Bobcats still held the lead with only 3:41 left.
Coach Jack Meriwether's Bobcats enjoyed their best shooting game of the season, connecting on 30-of-60 shots from the field (50.0%). They also won the rebound battle 36-31. A key difference in the team stats, was that Fairmont took better care of the ball, committing only nine turnovers, while the Bobcats lost the ball 15 times. The Falcons turned those miscues into 16 points.
While the first half had its share of lead changes, Fairmont went into halftime with a 43-39 lead. By the 16:40 mark of the second half, the Falcons had extended that lead to 49-41. Wesleyan responded in kind at that point, embarking on an impressive 18-6 run over the next 4:50, racing to a 59-55 lead by the 11:50 mark. The game bounced each way from there, and at the 5:15 mark, a Dusan Vicentic jumper put the Bobcats back up 72-70. At the 3:41 mark, Wesleyan still led 72-71. But like the Fairmont early season blueprint, the Falcons finished strong, outscoring the Bobcats in the final minutes 12-5 to steal the victory.
Aaron Ariri led the Bobcats with teams highs of 26 points and eight rebounds. Vicentic added 17 points and six rebounds, while Luca Petrovic scored 15 points and posted a team high seven assists. Luke Layhew added 10 points and five rebounds.
Kenzie Melko led Fairmont with 22 points with Andrew Emrick scoring 15.
Wesleyan is now 0-8 overall and 0-4 in the Mountain East Conference. Fairmont improves to 5-2 and 3-1.
The Bobcats return to action Wednesday night, traveling to Virginia-Wise. Tip off is set for 7:30.