Second Half Push Not Enough as Men’s Basketball Falls to Davis & Elkins

Elkins, W. Va. – Coming off the momentum of their first back-to-back win effort of the season, the Wheeling University Men's Basketball team (5-15, 3-11) tried to take that momentum out on the road. They made the trip down to Elkins, West Virginia and outscored Davis & Elkins 47-42 in the game's second half. However, it wasn't enough as the Cardinals would fall to the Senators 90-81 in a high scoring affair.

The Senators came out strong in the early going as Sam Rolle IV hit a three and another three-pointer had Davis & Elkins up 6-2 in the first minute and a half of the game. John Korte got the ball back on Wheeling's side with a layup and a Marcus Johnson three-pointer gave Wheeling their first lead of the day at 7-6. Davis & Elkins responded with a three to retake the lead, but William Gabbert hit a jumper that tied the game at 9-9. Davis & Elkins responded with four straight points, but Wheeling once again battled back and made it a 13-12 game at the first media timeout. Wheeling was back out in front 14-13 on a Korte layup, but seven straight Senators points turned it into a 20-14 game. Wheeling continued to battle back, but by the second first half media timeout, the Cardinals still trailed 24-17.

With the Cardinals trailing by seven, Davis & Elkins would put the Cardinals in a hole going on a run that lasted four minutes. The Senators scored 16 of the next 17 points and turned it into a 40-18 game with 5:33 left in the first half. A Caleb Murray layup got the Cardinal's offense going again and they responded with a 6-0 run to make it a 40-24 game. That would be the start of a career day for Murray as he put up seven points over the final three minutes of the first half. He hit a three, a layup, and a pair of free throws as he showed his value off the bench. He hit one more three-pointer as the first half clock expired, and the team went into the locker room trailing 48-34. Wheeling needed a spark on offense if they wanted to battle back and claim their third win in a row.

The Senators would be the ones to come out strong in the second half, scoring the first four points of the half and put Wheeling down 52-34. Johnson would get the Cardinals back on the board with a three as the Cardinals began their comeback. The Cardinals would go on a 7-2 run to start the comeback, capped off by a Three-pointer by Brent Price. It made it a 12-point game and Davis & Elkins would once again extend their lead to 61-50 before the Cardinals were at it again. Johnson hit a free throw to start a 5-0 Cardinals run and with 12 minutes to go, Murray hit a layup that brought it to a six-point deficit. It was the first time since the first half that the Cardinals were within single digits and they had a chance to overtake the Senators.

The score would remain close down to the final three minutes of the game with the score sitting at 83-71. The Cardinals would get some opportunities at the free throw line over the next minute, but went 3-6 and the score sat at 85-74 with two minutes to play. Murray hit another three that got the Cardinals back to within single digits and Ryan Reasbeck hit a layup to make it 85-79. Reasbeck would hit another layup on the next possession and with 22 seconds left it was an 87-81 game. The Cardinals would foul the Senators on the next possession and brought Rolle IV to the free throw line. He would hit both free throws and it would end the Cardinal's day as they fell 90-81 and dropped to 3-11 in conference play.

Leading the way for the Cardinals was Marcus Johnson, who finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. It was his second double double of the season as he continues to be one of the Cardinals top contributors. John Korte tied with him for the team lead with 10 rebounds but was held to nine points on the night. The big performer off the bench was freshman Caleb Murray, who scored a career-high 18 points off the bench. He was 4-11 from three point range and was 6-13 from the floor. Brent Price was the final double digit scorers for the Cardinals, finishing with 12 points on the night.

The Wheeling University Men's Basketball team returns to action on Wednesday, February 1st, when they take on Charleston at 7:30 PM.

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