By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Saturday afternoon at the Carter Center at Concord University, Bo was king.
West Virginia State’s Bo King tickled the nets for 32 points to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 94-85 win over the homestanding Mountain Lions in Mountain East Conference play. The loss was Concord’s seventh straight defeat.
“For lack of a better word, our defense is atrocious,” said Concord head coach Kent McBride. “When we make a basket in the first possession of the game and we don’t match up on the trail end, our defense is bad.
“I don’t know if it’s schematic, I don’t know if it’s the players, I don’t know what the answer is. But until we fix that, as a program this will continue to happen because you can’t win games in this league giving up 94.”
B.J. Hamlet popped a three for Concord to open the game but then the Yellow Jackets took over with a 10-2 run.
Down seven, Concord battled on both ends of the court and pulled to within three at which time West Virginia State switched from its man-to-man defense to a zone. The Lions then began misfiring from the perimeter.
West Virginia State’s lead grew to 10, then to 14 points late in the first half before the buzzer sounded with the Yellow Jackets on top 48-36 after the first 20 minutes.
Concord shot 29 percent from the field in the opening half, while the Yellow Jackets connected on 41 percent, 60 percent from behind the three point line. The Mountain Lions made only 18 percent of its three point attempts.
Within the first minute of the second half State had pulled ahead by 16 points, but Concord did not quit battling.
Mike Boyd converted a three-point play and got a bucket on basket interference and Terry Hopewell scored down low to make it an eight point game. The Yellow Jackets, however, pulled away.
Midway through the final half Concord made another charge. Two free throws by Cam Shannon, a charity toss by Boyd and steal by Shannon and subsequent jumper by Boyd got the Lions to within five of the lead.
The Mountain Lions got even closer after a West Virginia State timeout when Hamlet laid the ball through the rim to make the score 63-60.
Unfortunately for Concord that was as close as the Lions would get. Defensive breakdowns and missed free throws helped the Yellow Jackets pull back ahead and get the win.
“They (West Virginia State) made some timely shots in the second half,” McBride said. “We had a chance, I think down fife coming out of a time out and we went 0-for-2 at the line and then they hit a couple of shots. They are a good basketball team. Offensively they are very gifted and they always are.
“We waited until the last 20 minutes to play with the effort we need to win a game and you can’t do that in this league.”
In addition to King’s 32, Dominic Phillips scored 19 and Steve Wing 15. Wing had a game-high 12 rebounds and Phillips pulled down eight.
Shannon and Boyd topped the Concord scoring column as each scored 16 points. Hamlet tallied 14 and A.J. Williams came off the bench to drop in 11.
Concord is now 5-11 overall and 2-8 in conference play. West Virginia State moved to 7-6 in all games and 4-6 in the league.
The Mountain Lions play next on Thursday at UVa.-Wise.