WVC men's basketball: UC rolls W.Va. State 92-56
The University of Charleston men's basketball team played, according to Coach Mark Downey, its best 40 minutes in a 92-56 West Virginia Conference victory over arch rival West Virginia State (6-8, 4-5 WVC) Saturday at Eddie King Gym.
The Golden Eagles won on the scoreboard, rebounds (45-33), assists (20-9), steals (9-8) and had seven fewer turnovers.
As a result, they won by the largest margin in the series since a 114-72 victory on Feb. 14, 2002 - Bryan Poore's third season as head coach for West Virginia State.
"They were the aggressor, from the tip," said Poore, whose team was coming off an emotional and exhausting 90-89 victory over Shepherd on Thursday. "They got the momentum and we never got it switched back."
State appeared to have a letdown after the victory over the Rams, which is the situation that confronts the Golden Eagles (11-2, 7-2 WVC) on Monday when West Liberty - the No. 1 team in the National Association of Basketball Coaches' Division II Poll - visits Eddie King Gym.
On Saturday, UC scored the first seven points and got the lead to double digits (14-2) before the 13-minute mark of the first half.
Charleston Coach Mark Downey thought State could have a hangover from its win on Thursday, so he tried to "exploit it."
"Shepherd presses now, and after our Shepherd game up there, we were dead (tired)," said Downey, whose team lost 80-74 in overtime on Dec. 1 at Shepherdstown. "We told our guys, first of all, they're going to go after the glass, they're going to pound it inside and we want to push the tempo.
"That was our best 40 minutes of the year, no doubt."
State had only one player in double figures, Anton Hutchins, who finished with a game-high 21 points. Raymon Austin had 10 points, but was nowhere near his performance against Shepherd (26 points, 10 rebounds).
In UC's 12-rebound advantage, two players had six (Quincy Washington, Fred Simpson) and four had four (Evan Faulkner, Robbie Dreher, Hayden Annett, Corey Jackson).
The Golden Eagles' bench outscored State's 35-12 behind Jackson, who had a team-high 15 points. Guard Terrell Lipkins had 14, as did Dreher off the bench. Faulkner finished with 11 and Xavier Humphrey had 10.
"We just have to work together as a team and put in quality minutes," said Humphrey, who added three rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots to his statistics.
State made a run at the Golden Eagles, taking away some of the momentum and getting the lead to 44-32 after a Jalen Walker layup.
Then, UC went on a 14-4 run to take a 58-36 lead with 12:24 remaining.
"They got going and it's nice to have guys who have been around like X (Humphrey) and Evan Faulkner) to keep us at an even keel," Downey said.
A 3-pointer by Faulkner pushed the lead to 56-32 with 14:21 left.
State had 18 fewer shots that UC and were just 4-of-13 (.308), which is actually higher than their season percentage (.269).
Also, the Golden Eagles - the top free-throw shooting team in the conference -- didn't miss any of their 11 free throw attempts, and State was 10-of-18.
Charleston is back in action at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Eddie King Gym when it hosts West Liberty. The Yellow Jackets visits Fairmont State at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
State and UC concluded their regular season schedule on Saturday, Feb. 23 when they meet at Fleming Hall in Institute.
Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.