The high flying Cardinals of Wheeling Jesuit put to bed the Big Blue of Bluefield State College 109-81 in an non-conference tussle on Monday at the McDonough Center.
Freshman Kyle Ritz (Cambridge, Ohio) didn't miss a shot, going 11-11 on the night to lead the Cardinals with 25 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Justin Fritts was also clutch for WJU, putting in 21 points on 6-8 shooting and tallying seven assists. Senior Andre Harris went 8-13 for 16 points as well. All told, four Cardinals scored in double figures, and the bench contributed 24.
The Cardinals are riding a hot streak (13-8, 10-7 MEC), winning seven straight heading into an important conference match up at home against Fairmont State. A win over the fourth ranked Falcons could give them the game-and-a-half boost they need to finish in the MEC's top four and get a first-round bye in the playoffs.
"It feels good to be back home and to get a big win like that in front of our fans," said WJU head coach Danny Sancomb. "I think we shared the ball well tonight. We put them under pressure by sticking to the game plan and moving the ball around the court."
The Cardinals ran out to a hot start in the first half led by Fritts who had 11 of his 21 in the first 10 minutes, including two big threes to put distance between WJU and Big Blue.
Eric Siefert was masterful with ball in hand, lighting up the Cardinal crowd by assisting Harris on a big ally-oop dunk for one of his nine gives. Fritts assisted Ritz just seconds later on another ally-oop for two of his 10 points in the first 10 minutes.
Bluefield State was able to hang tough with the speedy Cardinals by shooting 46% on 13-28 from behind the arc. Big Blue #14 Shakir Dunning went 11-23 from the field to lead all scorers with 28 points.
The Highlight of the night for the Cardinals was certainly Kyle Ritz and his breakout performance. Ritz now leads WJU in rebounds on the season with 136 and 20 blocked shots. Ritz also improved his season FG percentage to .605.
"Kyle is becoming a key player for us," added Sancomb. He's playing smart and is becoming a good finisher. He's young, but a great athlete."
The Cardinals return to the court on Thursday , when Fairmont State comes calling. The WJU women will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m. . It's Think Pink night at WJU that evening, with fans encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness. WJU will also honor their 94 student athletes who made the Fall '13 dean's list at halftime of the men's game.