Men's Basketball Falls in Back and Forth Affair with West Virginia State
Wheeling, W. Va. – The Wheeling University Men's Basketball team (3-6, 2-3) continued their home stretch to wrap up the 2021 portion of their schedule Wednesday when they battled West Virginia State. It was a back and forth affair throughout the night, but in the end, Wheeling would fall in the game 67-64.
It was a defensive game through the first five minutes of the game, with the two teams combining for just nine points. Wheeling'sJohn Kortegot the scoring started with a lay-up, andJay Gentryadded two more buckets as the Cardinals scored six of those nine points to start things off. A pair of free throws by Jarett Hainesended the run, and Wheeling led 8-3 with just under 15 minutes left in the first half. A pair of free throws by Andrew Taylor and a three-pointer by Brent Prince started another 6-0 run that put them in full control through the first 10 minutes of the game. They were ahead 14-5 after those 10 minutes and were looking to put their foot on the gas.
However, as the first half went on, West Virginia State kept fighting and slowly worked their way back into the game. After Wheeling maintained a 19-14 lead with seven minutes to go in the first half, a pair of three-pointers from the Yellow Jackets' Abram Glenn made it a game again at 24-20. Those threes sparked a 14-3 run that put West Virginia State ahead 28-24 with four minutes to go in the half. The Cardinals would make one more push before the half was up led by Gentry. Gentry scored eight points over the last four minutes of the first half, including two three-pointers, and Wheeling went into halftime ahead 34-31. Gentry had 12 of his 16 points in the first half and looked to take that momentum into the second half.
However, it was his teammate Jordan Reid who would start the second half hot with four points in two minutes as Wheeling expanded its lead to 38-34. Reid entered the game needing 27 points to reach 1,000 points in his career, and although he didn't get it he had a big second half. Reid scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in that second half. The Cardinals would maintain that lead until 15 minutes remained in the game. West Virginia State battled back to tie the game at 44-44 when Anthony Pittman hit a bucket to tie the game. Both teams were looking fit that run to separate themselves in the game, and it was the Yellow Jackets who found it. They went on an 8-0 run as the clock ticked past 10 minutes to play, giving them a 58-47 lead.
As the Cardinals tried to battle back, senior Jarrett Hainesalmost single-handedly got his team back in the game, scoring six points on an 8-0 run that brought the score back to within five points with seven minutes to play. Try as they might over the final five minutes of the game, they were never able to get back on top of the Yellow Jackets, and they ended up falling in this one 67-64. As a team, Wheeling shot 36.9% from the floor and 26.3% from beyond the arc. The Cardinals will play one more home game in 2021 and wrap up the conference part of their 2021 portion of the schedule. They will play one more home game in 2021 before turning the calendar ahead to 2022.
Even though he did not reach the 1,000-point mark tonight, Reid still led the offense with 19 points in the game, and just missed a double-double with eight rebounds. Jay Gentryadded 16 points on the day, while Jarett Hainespicked up a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds on the night. John Kortewas also in double-digit rebounds tonight, finishing with 10 rebounds of his own. Wheeling now sits at 2-3 in conference play and drops to sixth place with the loss. They continue to battle as the calendar flips to 2022 as they try and return to the Mountain East Conference (MEC) playoffs this season.
The Wheeling University Men's Basketball team hirs the road next time out on Tuesday, December 14th, when they take on Slippery Rock at 6 PM.