Fairmont, W. Va. – It was a special night for senior Men's Basketball player John Korte as he joined elite company, becoming the 49th player to reach the 1,000 point mark for his career. Unfortunately, the Wheeling University Men's Basketball team was unable to back up that effort with a win as they fell to Fairmont State Wednesday night 109-100. Korte finished with 22 points on the night and now has 1,009 points for his Cardinals career.
The shot happened with 11:37 left in the game as the Cardinals came up the court. Korte had the ball at the top of the key and drove around a pair of Fairmont State defenders. He let up a jumper just inside of the free throw line and it sank in for his 13th point of the night, which brought his career total to 1,000. He became the 49th player in team history to reach the mark, and the first since former Cardinal Jarett Hines hit the 1,000-point mark on January 15th, 2022. Korte would finish the night tied for the team lead with 22 points, while also tying for the team lead with seven rebounds. Korte has been an active member for the Cardinals since joining the team for the 2019-2020 season and we congratulate him on his accomplishment.
After Fairmont State hit the first layup of the night, the Cardinals would get going as William Gabbert hit a three to put Wheeling in front 3-2. It was the start of a big half for Gabbert as he led his team on a 10-4 run over the first four minutes of play. Gabbert scored six of those 10 points, hitting a pair of threes as he had his best game since officially joining the Cardinal's starting five. Gabbert kept his success going with a pair of free throws and his third three-pointer of the night pushed the Cardinal's lead to 15-8 with 13:55 to go in the first half. Another Gabbert jumper made it 17-8, and the sophomore would account for 12 of his team's first 17 points of the night. However, Isaiah Sanders and company would battle back and by the second media time out, the Cardinal lead was reduced to 23-18.
With the Cardinal lead reduced to three, Korte would get on the board for the first time with a layup that made it 23-18. That layup would spark an 8-2 Cardinals run and the team found themselves up 29-23 with 8:24 left in the first half. However, Fairmont State would keep it close and two minutes later, they came back to tie the game at 35-35 with 6:02 to go in the first. Sanders would give Fairmont State the lead on the next possession, but Korte answered with his own layup and the teams were once again tied at 37-37. A foul was called on the Korte layup and he came back and completed the three-point play to put Wheeling in the lead. The teams would go back and forth for the rest of the first half, and Wheeling held the lead heading into the locker room at 53-47.
In the second half, the Cardinals came out and continued scoring as they extended their lead to 12 thanks to three-pointers from Marcus Johnson and Andrew Taylor. Gabbert and Johnson would each add a pair of free throws and with 16:13 to play, the Cardinals had their largest lead of the game at 64-51. It would then turn into a game of runs as Fairmont State scored five straight, followed by five straight from the Cardinals as the score sat at 71-61 with 13:02 to play. After Korte scored his 1,000th career point, Fairmont State began to battle back, hitting three three-pointers in the span of a minute and a half and cutting the Cardinal's lead to 78-72 heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Ryan Reasbeck and Kevin Coleman Jr. would combine to score three points and Wheeling brought their lead back to 81-72 with 8:52 to play. The Falcons would put together another push, scoring eight of the next 10 points and turned it into an 83-80 game. Korte would score the next four points for his team on a pair of free throws and a layup, but once again Fairmont State battled back and took an 88-87 lead on a Fairmont State three-pointer by David Jolinder. The Cardinals would not see the lead again for the rest of the game, but did make it to the 100 point mark for the second time this season, but it wasn't enough as they would drop the game 106-100.
Aside from Korte's big effort, Marcus Johnson also finished with 22 points on the night and tied with Korte for the team rebound lead with seven. William Gabbert had a career best night, scoring 21 points and shooting 4-7 from three-point range. RRyan Reasbeck was the final Cardinal to reach double digits, finishing with 13 points off the bench to round out the night. The Cardinals now enter Saturday's game against Frostburg State sitting one game out of the #10 seed in the MEC Tournament and will need a win to get the tie breaker over the Bobcats. It will also be senior night inside the Alma Grace McDonough Center as the team tries to continue to pave their way to the 2023 MEC Tournament.
The Wheeling University Men's Basketball team returns to action on Saturday, February 18th, when they host Frostburg State at 4 PM.