Wheeling, W. Va. - It came down to the final seconds on Wednesday night as the Wheeling University Men's Basketball team (1-5, 0-3) battled against Davis & Elkins. The Cardinals battle to the last second of the game but it wasn't enough as they would fall 77-75 and dropped to 0-3 in Mountain East Conference (MEC) Play. Wheeling trailed by 11 with just over 10 to play and were able to battle back to make it come down to the final shot of the night.
With 10 minutes to go, The Cardinals found themselves behind 60-49 and we're looking to get the offense going. Freshman S.J. Hutchinson would hit a three to bring the deficit to eight, but Davis & Elkins What attached eight straight points to get the lead back to 68-52. Their lead extended to 72-55 with just over 5 minutes left in the game and the Cardinals found themselves facing a tough uphill climb. As head coach Chris Richardson often says, basketball is a game of runs and wheeling would hit theirs over the final five minutes, scoring 17 of the next 19 points to make it a 74-72 game with 1:40 to play. A three-pointer by Davis & Elkins opened things up a little bit but Wheeling was quick to respond as Hutchinson Hit another big three to make it 77-75 with 46 seconds to play.
Davis & Elkins would get the ball back and ran the clock down until there were just 10 seconds left to play. I missed shot by the Senators resulted in a Hutchinson rebound and the Cardinals were able to call a timeout to move the ball into their offensive zone. Wheeling needed a draft up a scoring play and do it quickly with a three winning the game and a two tying it. Brent Price would inbound the ball for the Cardinals and they got it to Marcus Johnson atop the key. Johnson shot a pass over to Hutchinson who would try to make something happen with a second left. He launched the ball towards the net and hit the rim but it ended up bouncing the senator's way as the clock hit zero. Davis & Elkins would walk away with a 77-75 win, but Wheeling continues to battle as they dropped their fourth game by nine points or less.
The offense continues to spread the ball around with seven Cardinals scoring at least two points, including three double digit scores. Brent Price continued his strong season leading the way with 21 points while tying for the team lead with five rebounds. Sophomore Marcus Johnson was right behind him putting up 20 points of his own and also grabbing five rebounds on the night. S.J. Hutchinson was once again a spark off the bench for the Cardinals finishing with 11 points while going 3-5 from three-point range. While Price is scoring a lot this season, he is also doing a nice job passing the ball around and led the Cardinals with six assists on the night.
Despite how things looked in the second half, the Cardinals once again got out to a hot start as they have been all season long. Johnson was hot early on, and the Cardinals continued to go to the hot hand as they want on an 8-1 run with six points coming from Johnson. Johnson would bring his point total to eight on the night with another way up and the Cardinals would control things League 15-8. Davis & Elkins made it 15-10, but the Cardinals offense just kept scoring as three different players fueled a 10-2 run. William Gabbert had the big shot hitting a three-pointer that made it 21-10 before the Cardinals would leave 25-12 with just over 10 minutes before halftime.
However, the senators have been known for their offensive play this season and they would work their way back into the game. They cut the Cardinals lead to 30-24 with just over five minutes left in the first half as a teams would start to go back and forth. With 2:45 showing on the clock, the game would be tied at 33-33 with both teams trying to gain the advantage before halftime. Davis & Elkins took a 38-35 lead with 1:04 to play, but Price hit a three with 20 seconds left the tie the game once again. The Senators would have the final possession of the first half and put in a layup just as the time expired to head in the locker room up 40-38. That two point advantage would end up holding in this tight game as the Cardinals continue to battle night in and night out.
The Wheeling University Men's Basketball team Will return to action on Saturday, December 2nd, when they hit the road to face West Virginia Wesleyan with tip off at 4:00 p.m.