Courtesy of James Garcia, Sports Information Director, West Virginia State Atheltics
FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The No. 24 West Virginia State men’s basketball team (15-4, 9-4 MEC) suffered its third-straight defeat to Fairmont State (15-4, 10-3 MEC) by a final score of 85-78 on Wednesday night at the Feaster Center. The Yellow Jackets trailed by as much as 21 points midway through the second half and came all the way back to force an overtime period.
Sophomore guard Dwaine Jones continued to impress with a career-high 23 points on the night. He is averaging 18 points per game over the last four games. Jones made 67 percent of his shots from the floor and all three of his three-point attempts while dishing out six assists. Fellow sophomore Ibn Loyal registered his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The start of the game was nervy for the Yellow Jackets as they failed to score through the opening three minutes and went down by five points. They quickly turned things around, however, by scoring nine unanswered over the next two minutes to take a lead for the first time in the last three games. Noah Jordan, Anthony Pittman and Dwaine Jones all made shots during the short spurt.
Baskets were then traded by the teams until the Falcons started a 14-2 run around the 12-minute mark of the first half. The run ended with Fairmont State hitting back-to-back threes and forced Head Coach Bryan Poore to call a timeout to regroup. WVSU trailed by eight, 25-17, with eight-and-a-half minutes left coming out of the timeout.
The rest of the first half was played fairly evenly with Fairmont narrowly edging State, 14-12, during the stretch. Jones and Samier Kinsler each knocked down three-pointers and added two-point buckets to keep their team in the game. Taevon Horton then made a layup at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 10 points, 39-29, at halftime.
Poore needed to burn another timeout to slow Fairmont’s momentum in the beginning of the second half. The Falcons went on a 16-7 run to extend their lead to 19 points, 55-36, after nearly six minutes ticked off the clock.
West Virginia State finally cut the deficit back to single digits right before the final commercial timeout. Ibn Loyal and Ricky Rollins drained a pair of treys in succession to get the Yellow Jackets back within nine points, 66-57, of FSU.
A scoring drought ensued by both sides until Jones nailed a step-back three with 3:25 remaining in the contest. The Falcons responded with a quick layup to go up by eight, 68-60, and called a timeout at the three-minute mark.
The Yellow Jackets came out of the timeout applying a full court press and swiped two steals on their way to scoring six unanswered. Ricky Rollins’ slam dunk at the end of the surge brought WVSU back to within two points, 68-66, with a little over two minutes to go.
Down the home stretch, two big-time shots were made by Jones and Miguel Martinez. Jones hit a trey before Martinez hit another three to tie the score at 74-apiece with 41 seconds left in regulation. Neither team was able to find a game-winner in the closing seconds to send the game into overtime.
West Virginia State gained a slight lead, 78-76, after Jones sank a floater with three minutes left in overtime. Unfortunately, that was the last basket made by the Yellow Jackets as Fairmont went on to win it by making a couple of shots and sinking free throws at the end.
The Yellow Jackets shot much better than in their previous two contests, converting 41 percent of their field goals. The bench also provided a big boost towards the end of the game and scored 41 points total.
WVSU will return to Institute for its next game against Frostburg State on Saturday, Jan. 28th. The tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Next Game: Frostburg State University 1/28/2023 | 4:00 PM