Wheeling, W. Va. – Riding high off their big win on Saturday, the Wheeling University Men's Basketball team (5-14, 3-12) were looking to keep things going in their final game of a three-game home stand. The offense once again came to olay as they did just that with an 82-55 win that gave them their third Mountain East Conference (MEC) win of the season. Wheeling had three double digit scorers in the game as they once again passed the ball around, finishing with 15 assists on the night.
Brent Price got the first bucket of the night and, after trading the next bucket, the Cardinals scored six of the first eight points of the game to take a 6-2 lead. The Bobcats answered with a 7-0 run of their own and West Virginia Wesleyan led 9-6 as the first media timeout ticked away. Price would once again break the Bobcats run with a layup and that would get Wheeling started again. John Korte would keep his success going as he got a pair of free throws to make it 13-11 and added a three-pointer to give Wheeling their first lead since the 16 minute mark of the game. The Bobcats would add one more free throw before the first 10 minutes passed by and ar the second media timeout, things were tied at 14-14. Both teams were still looking for that big run as they tried to gain the upper hand on their opponents.
Wheeling would get their spark from a familiar face off the bench as freshman Ryan Reasbeck checked into the game. He hit four threes on Saturday against West Liberty and got this one started with a three to get Wheeling out to a 17-14 lead. The Bobcats responded with a layup, but the Cardinals went back to the hot hand as Reasbeck hit his second straight three to put Wheeling up 20-16 with 8:34 to play. Wheeling held that lead for the next minute, but once again the game was tied at 21-32. The score remained tied until the 4:51 mark of the half when the Cardinals got hot from three again. This time, it was Korte getting in in the action with a pair of threes and the Cardinals held their biggest lead of the night at 29-23. The Bobcats battled back, scoring the final five points of the half, but Wheeling went into halftime leading 36-32.
West Virginia Wesleyan got the second half started with a three and it was once again a one-point game. A Price layup and another Wheeling three-pointer, this time courtesy of Andrew Taylor, pushed the Wheeling lead to 41-37. Taylor added two more free throws as he led the charge on what was a 7-0 run, and the Cardinals were staked to their biggest lead of the night at 45-37 with 15:41 to play. After a Bobcats bucket, Taylor finished up the run with a layup and a dunk and as the first media timeout hit the score sat at 49-39 in favor of Wheeling. While the offense was scoring, the defense was strong allowing just one Bobcats bucket over the span of six minutes. William Gabbert got on the board with a three and a Reasbeck Layup pushed the Wheeling advantage to 54-41 by the second media timeout.
Over the final 10 minutes of play, Head Coach Chris Richardson began going to his bench and got some big performances. One of the best performances during that final ten minutes stretch came courtesy of freshman Caleb Murray, who went a perfect 3-3 from three-point range to finish with a career-high nine points. Reasbeck and Dozie Enyosiobi each got in on the action over those final ten minutes, as the Cardinals outscored the Bobcats 26-14 during those ten minutes of play. Kevin Coleman Jr. and Zion Suddeth each added four points during those final ten minutes of play as well to help the Cardinals secure the. 82-55 victory. It was the first time the Cardinals have won back-to-back games this season as they build momentum.
Leading the way for the Cardinals once again was senior John Korte, who although he broke his strong of 27+ point games, put together another strong performance. He led the way with 18 points on the night and was just three rebounds shy of a double double with a team high seven. He was one of three Cardinals to finish in double figures on the day, with Ryan Reasbeck finishing right behind him with 15. Reasbeck was 3-6 from three point range on the night and was one of three Cardinals to hit three three-pointers in the win. Andrew Taylor rounded out the double digit scorers with 13 points, setting a new season-high for the Junior. Getting in at the end of the game helped Caleb Murray set a career-high mark at nine points as he led all three-point shooters on the team, going a perfect 3-3.
The Wheeling University Men's Basketball team will return to action on Saturday, January 28th, when they hit the road to face Davis & Elkins with tip-off at 2 PM.