Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

January 25, 2014

Five area colleges spice up weekend of hoops

BLUEFIELD — Bluefield College, West Virginia and Marshall have all snapped losing skids.

Now if only the men from Virginia Tech and Concord can do the same.

All five of those schools are in action today, with only Bluefield (9-6, 3-5) playing at home, hosting Mid-South Conference foe Rio Grande (13-6, 6-2), which is ranked No. 20 in the NAIA ranks this week.

Tip-off at the Dome Gym-nasium is slated for 4 p.m.

Bluefield, which snapped a two-game losing skid with a 78-73 win over Shawnee State on Thursday,  has placed four players in double figures this season, led by Kearsten Marion (16.5 ppg, 3.5 ast), Josh Nesbit (13.9, 8.1 reb), Eastern Illinois transfer Alex Lubsey (12.9, 6.0 ppg) and Andrew Wilson (12.5).

Rio Grande, which can move into a share of first place in the Mid-South with a victory, had a five-game winning skid snapped with a loss at No. 4 Pikeville on Thursday. The Red Storm has five players averaging double digits in scoring, led by Josh Reagan (16.1 ppg, 5.6 reb) and Phillip Hertz (14.3 ppg, 5.7 reb).

 That contest will be preceded by the Lady Rams (8-8, 3-5), who will play Rio Grande (14-6, 3-5) at 2. Bluefield will be led by Teqa McNeal (17. 1 ppg, 3.7 ast, 2.9 stls), Asia Wheeler (14.4 ppg, 9.2) and Janee Simmons (12.7 ppg, 7.4 reb). Bluefield High School product Destiny Tolliver is sixth in the nation with 2.13 blocks par game.

Rio Grande, led by Brianna Thomas (19.8 ppg, 5.5 ast) and Sarah Bonar (17.7 ppg, 7.1 reb) will look to snap a two-game skid.

Concord (5-12, 2-9), which has lost dropped nine games in a row, will visit Glenville State (9-6, 6-5). The Mountain Lions last won on Dec. 5 against the same Pioneers in Athens.

Virginia Tech (8-10, 1-5) will attempt to snap a five-game losing skid at in-state rival Virginia (14-5, 5-1), which has won five of its last six games.

The Hokies, which lost to Wake Forest 83-77 without guards Adam Smith and Ben Emelogu on Wednesday, has struggled mightily shooting the ball, having lost all five of its games in January, and seven of its last eight.

Freshman point guard Devin Wilson has scored career highs in each of his last two games, 26 against Wake Forest and 20 at Notre Dame. Jarell Eddie (14.8 ppg, 5.7 reb) has shown signs of breaking out of a prolonged slump from the field.

Virginia, which has won three straight over Virginia Tech, has been paced by Joe Harris (11.6 ppg), Malcolm Brogdon (11.1 ppg, 5.2 reb) and Akil Mitchell (6.7 ppg, 6.7 reb).

In other Division I men’s action, West Virginia will visit Oklahoma State and Marshall travels to Louisiana Tech (16-4, 4-1).

The Mountaineers (11-8, 3-3) will look to avenge a 73-72 loss to the 11th ranked Cowboys (15-3, 3-2) on Jan. 11. West Virginia faces a critical part of its Big 12 schedule, with its next six games against ranked opponents.

Marshall (7-13, 1-4) snapped a four-game losing skid with a win over Rice on Thursday. The Thundering Herd, led by freshmen Kareem Canty and Ryan Taylor, have lost 11 of their last 14 games.

Also on the women’s side is Concord (8-7, 6-5), which faces a tall task, traveling to Glenville State (15-2, 10-1), which is ranked 11th the nation among NCAA Division II schools.

The high-scoring Pioneers have reached the century mark in 11 games this season, including a high of 130, along with 125 and 122 in their last two games. Glenville State defeated the Lady Lions earlier this season 100-72.

Princeton native McKenzie Akers and Marshall (7-10, 0-4) will host Tulsa (8-7, 2-2) today, while 18th-ranked West Virginia (17-2, 6-1) visits Texas (12-6, 3-3).

Virginia Tech (10-8, 0-5) will host Florida State (14-5, 2-4) on Sunday, while Virginia (10-9, 3-3) will visit Syracuse (14-5, 3-3) on the same afternoon.

Among regional schools, only Bluefield State is not in action this weekend.

Both teams play Monday. The Big Blues (5-11) travel to Davis & Elkins (9-9), while the Lady Blues (7-9) host Salem International.

—Contact Brian or Twitter @bdtwoodson.

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