Athens, W. Va. – Both offenses were flying high on Wednesday night as the Wheeling Men's Basketball team (5-18, 3-14) hit the road to face Concord. The two teams combined to score 199 points, but the Cardinals would come out on the wrong end, falling to the Mountain Lions 101-98. Four different Cardinals would finish in double figures on the day, but a 50-point first half wasn't enough to help the Cardinals secure the win.
The Cardinals offense came out hot in the first half with the Cardinals scoring six of the first seven points of the game. John Korte John Korte started the scoring with a layup and William Gabbert and Marcus Johnson each added layups of their own and Wheeling led 6-1 two minutes into the game. A three-pointer by Trey Stoffer extended the Wheeling lead to 9-1 and the Cardinals were off an running. However, Concord wouldn't be held down for long as they battle back over the next two minutes to make it a 9-8 game. The back and forth would continue through the first media timeout, and Wheeling would hold on to a 15-13 lead. After Concord cut the Cardinal's advantage to one, Kevin Coleman Jr. would hit back-to-back layups as he began what would be a big day for the freshman.
As the half went on, the two teams would go back and forth and with 9:45 left in the first half it was deadlocked at 23-23. Ryan Reasbeck would break the tie with a pair of three-pointers, but the Mountain Lions came back to tie the game at 29-29. That tie would stand until the 5:34 mark of the first half as the game sat tied at 35-35. A Coleman layup would kick-off the Cardinals biggest run of the day as they went on a 10-0 run. Korte would score four points on the run and a Gabbert three-pointer was added as Wheeling took a 45-35 advantage. The Mountain Lions would battle back to make it a five-point game with just over a minute to play before a pair of George Taylor III free throws would get Wheeling back on offense. Korte would hit one more jumper to end the half and the Cardinals went into the half leading 51-43.
The second half began with more offense as Concord's Ethan Heller hit a three followed by an Andrew Taylor three to bring the score to 54-46. The Cardinals were able to maintain that lead throughout the early portions of the second half and led 61-56 at the first media timeout. Gabbert would add a three to push the Cardinals lead to 64-58 for their biggest lead of the second half. However, the Mountain Lions began their comeback and cut the Wheeling lead to 69-66 as the 10-minjre mark approached. With 8:09 left in regulation, the Cardinals held a slight 73-72 lead and were looking to make that push over the top. They would go 3-6 at the free throw line over the next 30 seconds to extend their lead to 76-72, but as the final media timeout hit, the game was back even at 76-76. The teams would trade the final 20 points of regulation and the teams would head to overtime with the game tied at 86-86.
The overtime period started with a pair of layups from Korte and Stoffer and the Cardinals were out to the early 90-88 lead. A three-pointer from Jevon Ladiler gave Concord their first lead of the game and they held a one-point advantage at 91-90. A pair of Mountain Lion three-pointers created the little butIf separation that the team needed as they would move to a 97-90 advantage with 2:36 left in the extra period. Korte got the Cardinals back on the board with a pair of free throws. Korte would just keep scoring as he led Wheeling on an 8-1 run that brought it to a 99-98 game with 19 seconds to go. The Cardinals would foul on the next possession and Heller put through two free throws that put Concord up by three at 101-98. The Cardinals would have one more shot and John Korte would take that shot, launching a three-pointer with three seconds to play. However, the shot would miss the mark and Wheeling ended up falling by that same 101-98 score.
The Cardinals had four double figure scorers on the night as the offense spread the ball around. John Korte would lead the group with 25 points and picked up his sixth double double of the season with a team-high 15 rebounds. Marcus Johnson would be the other 20+ point scorers for the team, adding 21 points of his own. William Gabbert would get the start and was the Cardinal's most efficient shooter from the floor, going 5-8 and putting up 14 points. The final double digit scorers for the Cardinals was Kevin Coleman Jr. who finished with 16 points on the night. The Cardinals now drop to 3-14 in MEC play as they continue the battle to hold on to the #10 seed in the MEC Tournament.
The Wheeling University Men's Basketball team returns to action on Saturday, February 11th, when they take on Glenville State with tip-off at 4 PM.