Men's Basketball Holds on for Alumni Day Win over Davis & Elkins
Wheeling, W. Va. – For the first time in 14 days, the Wheeling University Men's Basketball team (7-13, 6-8) got the chance to play in front of their home fans. They celebrated the alumni of their program on alumni day and honored senior Jarett Haines with his 1,000-point ball presentation before the game. It was a close one, but the Cardinals sent their fans home happy with a 74-73 victory.
Through the first five minutes of the game, neither offense was able to find their groove as they combined for just six points. The Cardinals' offense managed just two free throws in those five minutes courtesy of Jordan Reid. The Senators pulled further ahead to take a 7-2 lead, but the Cardinals would battle back after they got hot from three-point range. Senior Jay Gentry and sophomore Andrew Taylor each knocked down threes, and Wheeling cut the deficit to 9-7 with 14 minutes to play in the first. The deficit remained a one-point affair, and Wheeling was looking for something to spark the offense.
They would get that spark when senior Jordan Beale came off the bench with 12 minutes left in the first half. As soon as Beale entered the game, he hit a three-pointer that gave Wheeling its first lead of the night at 12-11. He completed the and-one play and added another three-pointer to extend Wheeling's lead to 18-14 before the half's second media timeout. The two teams battled back and forth over the next four minutes and saw the score deadlocked at 20-20 with 6:43 left in the half. After the Senators gained a one-point advantage, Wheeling would go on an 11-6 run to open up a 31-27 advantage. The lead would not change hands the rest of the way, and Wheeling went into halftime leading 35-33.
As the second half started, Wheeling scored the first points, but a big three from Davis & Elkins tied the score at 39-39 over the first minute and a half of the second half. The teams went back and forth over the first five minutes of the half, and the score sat tied at 47-47. A three-pointer by Jarett Haines temporarily gave Wheeling the lead, and a Taylor three-pointer tied things back up with a three of his own bringing the score to 58-58. The two teams stayed within a point of each other all the way to the final minute of the game. Wheeling had played in a ton of close games already this year, and they were in for another one tonight.
With three minutes left in the game, the score sat tied at 69-69 as both teams tried to find the advantage. They were getting their shots, but nothing was falling for either side. Jordan Reid made a free throw to give Wheeling a one-point advantage and added a jumper with 1:50 left to make it 74-71. After Haines missed a one and one opportunity, Davis & Elkins was back on the board with a layup and cut the game to a one-point Wheeling advantage. The Senators would get the ball back with three seconds to go and tried a desperation shot, but it ended up not falling and Wheeling held on for the 74-73 win.
Reid led the offense once again with another big day, putting up a team-high 25 points in the wi. It was the third straight game that he eclipsed the 20-point mark, and he added two rebounds to round out his day. The other Cardinal to finish in double digits was senior Jordan Beale, who scored a season-high 10 points in the win. Beale has come alive the last couple of games and provided a spark for his team. All but one player who entered the game scored at least two points, as it was an entire team effort. Even guys like Zion Suddeth, who had just two minutes, made the most of their time and set Wheeling up for success.
The Wheeling University Men's Basketball team is back in action on Wednesday, February 2nd when they host the University of Charleston at 7:30 pm.