WISE, Va. – Redshirt junior forward Taiwo Badmus (London, England) scored 22 points against his former team but UVa-Wise men’s basketball was handed a 103-79 Mountain East Conference loss versus second-ranked Fairmont State University Tuesday night inside the David J. Prior Convocation Center. The visiting Fighting Falcons (11-0, 5-0 MEC) proved why they are No. 2 in the nation according to both the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Division II Sports Information Directors Association (D2SIDA) polls, shooting 52.9 percent (37-of-70) from the field in the win and outrebounding the Cavaliers (2-9, 1-4 MEC) 47-27.
Fairmont State was dominant on the glass and collected 17 offensive rebounds for 18 second-chance points, while the Fighting Falcons’ up-tempo offense earned them 29 fast-break points. Forcing 13 UVa-Wise turnovers with its notorious full-court press, Fairmont State scored 21 points off of the Cavalier miscues and got 56 points off the bench.
After the Fighting Falcons scored the first five points of the contest, UVa-Wise found itself quickly down double figures as Fairmont State raced out to a 17-6 lead four and a half minutes in. A pair of free throws from freshman point guard Michal Seals (Lancaster, Pa.) capped a 10-4 Cav run that cut the deficit down to nine with 8:50 to go in the opening half.
The Fighting Falcons mounted their largest lead of the first half at 25 when Steven Solomon drilled a 3-pointer to put Fairmont State up 55-30 with 2:48 remaining in the half. UVa-Wise ended the half on a 7-0 run as redshirt sophomore forward Dimitri Sousa (São Paulo, Brazil) knocked down a 3-pointer right before the break to make it an 18-point game heading into the locker room.
Fairmont State shot an impressive 62.9 percent (22-of-35) in the opening 20 minutes of play and went 7-of-14 from beyond the arc as Thomas Wimbush posted 18 first-half points. The Cavs went 15-of-34 (44.1 percent) from the field in the opening half but were 2-of-10 from downtown. Freshman guard Chance Sheffey (Staunton, Va.) earned 12 points in the half to lead UVa-Wise.
Nearly nine minutes into the second half, the Fighting Falcons pushed their lead out to 28 after a layup by Solomon. That advantage would be ballooned to 30 at the 8:08 mark when Fairmont State took an 87-57 lead. Just over a minute later, Solomon hit another 3-point basket to give the Fighting Falcons their largest lead of the night at 31 with 7:05 remaining.
A layup by freshman forward Yesid Mosquera-Perea (Quibdó, Chocó, Colombia) capped a 12-5 UVa-Wise run and made it a 24-point game at 95-71 but it was too little, too late with only 3:36 left. The Cavs outscored Fairmont State 20-13 over the last seven minutes of the game, including five unanswered in the final minute.
UVa-Wise shot 50 percent (15-of-30) in the second half, including 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from long range, while holding the Fighting Falcons to 42.9 percent (15-of-35) from the field and 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from 3-point land. The Cavs were only outscored by six (48-42) in the second half.
Seventeen of Badmus’ team-high 22 points came in the second half as the Fairmont State transfer also collected six rebounds. Sheffey finished with 17 points and a career-high six boards, while Sousa added 15 points and three assists. Mosquera-Perea scored nine and Seals dished out a team-high seven assists.
Wimbush led five different Fairmont State players who scored in double figures with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. The Fighting Falcons got 11 points and eight rebounds from Matt Bingaya, while D’Ondre Stockman (14), Solomon (12) and Andrew Emrick (10) each reached double figures. Shammgod Wells made eight of Fairmont State’s 19 assists and Trevor Andrews -Evans grabbed seven boards. All 12 players who stepped on the court for the Fighting Falcons scored.
The Cavs continue their four-game MEC homestand to open up the new year Thursday when UVa-Wise hosts Shepherd University for a 4 p.m. tip. Admission is free to both the men’s and women’s games.
BY UVA WISE