CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The UVa-Wise men’s basketball team was put out of the 2017 Mountain East Conference Tournament with an 84-66 first-round loss against seventh-seeded Glenville State College Wednesday evening. The 10th-seeded Cavaliers (9-20) were unable to find their offensive rhythm and struggled to shoot the ball the entire 40 minutes as the Pioneers (12-15) shot the ball at over 50 percent in each half.
UVa-Wise was held to 32.4 percent (22-of-68) shooting for the game and went 7-for-25 (28 percent) from distance in the loss. Glenville State connected on 13 3-pointers and shot an impressive 54.5 percent (30-of-55) from the field, including 57.1 percent (16-of-28) in the second half.
The Cavs only lead in the game came in the opening 30 seconds when redshirt junior forward Taiwo Badmus (London, England) banked a shot off the glass to give UVa-Wise an opening 2-0 -advantage. From there the Pioneers scored seven unanswered points and took a 7-2 lead a little over two minutes in. A Badmus free throw moments later at just under the 17-minute mark made it a one-point game at 7-6 but that would be as close as the Cavs would get for the remainder of the contest.
Down by just four at 24-20 with 10:42 to go in the half, UVa-Wise was outscored 11-2 by Glenville State over the next five minutes of play. An offensive rebound and tip-in by redshirt sophomore forward Dimitri Sousa (São Paulo, Brazil) got the Cavs’ deficit down to single digits at 37-29 with two and a half minutes to go in the half. UVa-Wise was held scoreless for the rest of the half as the Pioneers scored four to take a 12-point, 41-27 lead into the break.
The Cavs shot 35.5 percent (11-of-31) in the first half and went 4-for-12 from outside, while Glenville State connected on 51.9 percent (14-of-27) of its shots and went 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from deep. Badmus had 15 points and seven rebounds at the break as the Pioneers’ Brett Morris tallied 16 first-half points.
UVa-Wise still could not get anything going at the start of the second half and found themselves down by 16 after four minutes of second-half action. The Cavs continued to trail by double figures and could not get any closer than 12 for the rest of the game. A conventional 3-point play by Badmus at the 12:22 mark trimmed down the deficit to 12 at 56-44, before Glenville State went on a 9-0 run to build a 21-point lead at 65-44.
Freshman point guard Michal Seals (Lancaster, Pa.) gave UVa-Wise signs of hope as his jumper completed six unanswered Cavalier points, making it a 15-point game with seven and a half minutes to go. However, the short run was answered with the Pioneers outscoring the Cavs 15-4 over the following five minutes of play, giving Glenville State its largest lead of the night at 80-54 with 2:22 left. UVa-Wise outscored the Pioneers 12-4 over the final two and a half minutes but it was too little, too late as Glenville State dribbled out the last seconds to secure the 18-point victory.
The Cavs were outscored 38-8 in points off the bench and 30-28 in points in the paint. The Pioneers owned a 43-37 rebound advantage for the game despite UVa-Wise owning the offensive glass, 17-11. Forcing 16 Glenville State turnovers, the Cavs scored 15 points off of those miscues and got 14 second-chance points.
Earning his 14th double-double of the season, Badmus led the way for UVa-Wise with a team-high 25 points and game-high 12 rebounds on 9-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Seals finished with 16 points as freshman guard Chance Sheffey (Staunton, Va.) totaled nine points and Sousa claimed six points and five boards.
The Pioneers got a game-high 28 points from Morris after the senior forward and All-MEC First-Team performer went 11-for-14 from the field and collected nine rebounds. Terry Davis Jr. posted a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Glenville State, while Jalon Plummer scored 11 in reserve action. The Pioneers’ Darhius Nunn distributed a game-high six assists.
The loss brings the Cavs’ 2016-17 campaign to an end as UVa-Wise more than doubled its win total from a year ago and finished in the top 10 of the MEC regular season standings for the first time since the 2013-14 season.