Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 9, 2014

Wheeling trips Concord in OT

By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ATHENS — The Concord Mountain Lions took Wheeling Jesuit University to overtime on Saturday at the Carter Center before absorbing an 88-82 home loss.

Concord (6-15, 4-12 Mountain East) held the hot-shooting Cardinals to 11 for 26 in field goal tries in the first half en route to a 43-33 margin at intermission.

The visitors shot 51.7 percent from the field in the second half, and held Concord without a field goal in the five-minute overtime for the victory.

There were nine ties and 12 lead changes between the evenly-matched squads. Both teams finished with similar shooting percentages. Concord made 17 of 21 free throws, but WJU had 15 second-chance points and cleared five more rebounds than their hosts.

“The stats are pretty even,” Concord head coach Kent McBride said. “They had a couple of balls bounce into the rim, and we didn’t. ... When two close teams play like this, that’s what it is. I’m proud of our guys. It wasn’t because of lack of effort. The ball didn’t bounce our ways a couple of times, and they made a couple of plays.”

Concord got 19 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals from playmaker Mike Boyd. The junior forward scored five straight points in a Concord run late in the first half that produced the home team’s largest advantage, 43-31.

Boyd said, “I think it started with our defense. Coming in, we wanted to focus being in our stance, and guarding their back-cuts and all that. I think we did a good job. I think that led to our offense getting good shots, too.”

“Defensively, they’re not going to pressure you. They’re going to stand back, and they’re going to let you pass around, but they’re not going to let you drive.”

“They do a lot of cutting, and they keep moving on offense, which gets you tired, but you’ve got to stay down in your stance, and focus.”

Wheeling Jesuit head coach Dan Sancomb said, “In the first half, they played a little zone. We’re a pretty good shooting team, and we didn’t do a very good job moving the ball and shooting the ball.”

“They had a good run that last five minutes of the half. They pulled away and they played very well. We didn’t play very well.”

Terry Hopewell’s dunk with 8:40 in regulation gave Concord another healthy lead at 62-55. A technical foul on McBride a couple of minutes later resulted in two free throws by WJU’s Justin Fritts, starting a 7-0 run that tied the game 62-62 with 6:22 on the clock.

Neither team led by more than two points for the rest of the second half. That included a span of a little more than a minute in which the teams traded 3-pointers. Each of the five treys resulted in a lead change.

Concord’s Ali Barnes sank a pair of free throws with 36.4 seconds left in the half to produce a 77-77 tie. Wheeling Jesuit held for one shot, a trey try by Andre Harris that missed the mark, producing overtime.

The Mountain Lions never led in the extra five-minute stanza. Taylor Smith hit both halves of a one-and-one with 58.5 seconds remaining to create an 82-82 tie, but Concord’s next two possessions ended in turnovers and Wheeling scored the game’s last six points.

McBride thought back to Barnes’ field-goal try with about 25 seconds left and Concord trailing 84-82.

“We got to the one possession, and Ali Barnes got a really clean look,” he said. “Our message, coming out (for overtime), was, ‘You guys have got to think positive and play positive, play confident. If the shot’s open, I don’t want you to hesitate.’ And he didn’t. He missed it.

“But it’s not because the kid didn’t put in his time. It’s because the shot didn’t go in. That happens.”

McBride said about the Cardinals, “They run a very good offense. We did a pretty good job of keeping their field-goal percentage down. But they’re just a hard cover. They’ve got a really good point guard; Eric Siefert is one of the best in the league. And when Chase Lawson is hitting those shots, it makes it a hard cover.”

Sancomb said about Concord, “They’re better than their record is. ... We knew we were going to be in a dogfight.”

“We were able to get some stops. You’ve got to get some stops. We didn’t do a very good job defensively today (but) we got enough stops and made some shots and we were able to get back in it.”

Regarding overtime, Sancomb said, “I think it was just the guys’ will. I don’t think we changed anything. Our guys’ effort was good. ... It was a good team win. Anytime you win down here, you’ll be happy with it.”

It was the sixth straight victory for Wheeling Jesuit (11-8, 9-7).

Three of Concord’s reserves reached double-figure scoring. Aaron Miller had 16 points, Taylor Smith chalked up 13 and Barnes had 11 points and four assists.

Lawson led Wheeling Jesuit with 22 points. Harris had 21, while Fritts added 15. Siefert provided five assists and four steals.

Concord has lost three of its last four games. Ten of its losses this season have been by nine points or less. The Mountain Lions travel to Charleston (14-7) on Thursday.

— Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com