Taylor/Massey Lead Offensive Effort in Loss to Fairmont State

Sports

Fairmont, W. Va. – The Wheeling University Men’s Basketball team (4-11, 3-6) took the hour and a half drive to Fairmont, West Virginia, on Wednesday night to face #18 Fairmont State. It was a big day for two Cardinal players, but the effort wasn’t enough as they fell to the Falcons 95-84 and fell to 3-6 in Mountain East Conference (MEC) play.

Sophomore Andrew Taylor and freshman Tre Massey led the offensive effort, each putting up 19 points setting their new season-highs. Taylor led the team shooting 50% from the floor, while Massey tied for the team lead with two three-pointers on the day. Four Cardinals finished the day in double figures with senior Jordan Reid and junior John Korte finishing behind them with 13 points apiece. The Cardinals once again had a strong second half, scoring 48 points, but a 10-point halftime deficit was just too much for the team to overcome. Senior Jarett Haines finished the day with six points while finishing second on the team with three assists and seven rebounds. Haines now needs 14 points to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career and has a good chance to do it against Frostburg State on Saturday.

At the start of the game, the Falcons took control hitting back-to-back three-pointers and taking a 6-0 lead just a minute into the game. However, it didn’t take long for Wheeling to answer as Korte and Taylor led the team on a 9-3 run that tied the score at 9-9. With Wheeling getting off to slow starts as of late, this was their chance to reverse that trend and take control early. However, it was Fairmont State that took control going on a 13-4 run that made the score 22-13 with 11 minutes left in the first half. The Cardinals’ Trey Stoffer ended the Falcon run with a lay-up and Wheeling fought to battle back in the game. They cut what was a nine-point deficit into a six-point lead over the next two minutes, bringing the score to 24-18.

Over the final 10 minutes of the first half, Wheeling was looking for that run to get them back into the game. With seven minutes left in the half, Korte hit a three-pointer that began a 7-2 run for the Cardinals, but the deficit remained at 12 with five minutes to go in the first half. After another bucket by Fairmont State, Jay Gentry hits a three with three minutes left in the half and Wheeling starts another run. This time, it was a 7-2 run that made it 42-34 with two minutes left in the first half. The Falcons finished the half scoring four of the final six points that sent them into halftime up 46-36. Wheeling was pretty efficient from the floor in the first half, shooting 44.4%, and got contributions all around. Taylor led the way with 12 points in the first half and looked to continue that success into the second half.

Over the final 20 minutes of the game, it was an offensive shootout between the two teams, with both scoring nearly 50 points. It was Taylor who started the second half scoring with a three-pointer and kicked off a run where Wheeling would work their way back into the game. The Cardinals didn’t go on any long runs but outscored Fairmont State 19-7 over the next seven minutes as Wheeling took their first lead of the game. They officially took the lead when Massey hit a jumper at the 13:37 mark that gave the Cardinals a 55-53 lead. Massey added another three-pointer to extend the lead to 58-55, but it was a lead that would not last long. Fairmont State outscored Wheeling 13-4 and retook the lead 67-62 with 10 minutes to play.

Wheeling kept the deficit to single-digits over those final 10 minutes but was never able to overcome that deficit. Korte, Taylor, Gentry, and William Gabbert all got in on the scoring, but for every shot the Cardinals made, the Falcons had an answer. It took until there was just 1:32 showing on the clock before the Falcons took their lead to 11 points. John Korte added one more three-pointer in that final minute, but that is all that the Cardinals could muster as they fell 95-84. Wheeling improved their shooting percentage in the second half, shooting 48.8% and 33.3% from beyond the arc. Wheeling’s offense just missed scoring 50 points in the second half for the fourth straight game, finishing with 48 points. They now head into the weekend looking for a rebound in conference play.

The Wheeling University Men’s Basketball team is back in action on Saturday, January 15th, when they host Frostburg State with tip-off at 4 PM.

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