College basketball: UC survives to top Glenville State 71-69
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A win is a win, and for the University of Charleston men's basketball team, that has to be good enough.
Coach Mark Downey decided to accentuate the positives for his Golden Eagles, who claimed a hard-fought 71-69 West Virginia Conference victory over Glenville State on Monday night.
The Golden Eagles had to survive a rimmed-out 3-pointer by Kevin Gray at the buzzer to improve Downey's record against the Pioneers to 6-0.
"I'm trying to be positive," Downey said. "I'll still get in them when they make mistakes, but at this point of the season, when they make mistakes, before they even look over at me they'll know what they did. We didn't get good performances from a lot of the guys, but there were positives."
Charleston (17-7, 13-7 WVC) held a 65-54 lead with 4:26 left, but Glenville (11-14, 7-13) - which had lost seven of nine entering the game - regained a 3-point shooting touch that eluded it most of the game.
A 3-pointer by Gray with 3:10 left cut the lead to eight, and another by D.J. Blanks made it a 65-60 game. A Lamont Cole 3-pointer with 50 seconds left put the advantage at two points.
The Golden Eagles got the lead back to five, but after a Glenville basket, UC point guard Terrell Lipkins was called for a technical after tossing the ball to an opposing player.
"He pushed me first, so I threw the ball at him," said Lipkins, who had 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four steals for his third double-double of the season. "The second guy always is the one who gets caught. That's what coach said."
Two Jamel Morris free throws cut the lead to one and a free throw by Evan Faulkner made it a two-point game. The Pioneers pushed the ball down the floor and found a wide-open Gray in the corner. Gray, the conference's leader in 3-pointers with 84 entering the game, saw his shot rim out as the buzzer sounded.
Xavier Humphrey, who was responsible for covering Gray, left him to help on dribble penetration and UC almost paid for it with a defeat.
"We told them, '24 (Jamel Morris) and 1 (Gray) are the shooters, don't leave them,'" Downey said. "X, even after we lost the championship last year (to West Liberty) by helping when we shouldn't have, a returner does it again. We have to be better than that."
Gray, who is a 40.4 shooter from 3-point range, was 1-of-7 from the perimeter. He and Morris, who had 140 3-pointers between them entering the game, combined for just 4-of-14.
"It was a good shot and a good look at the basket," Glenville Coach Stephen Dye said. "Our point guard penetrated, we got a good look at it and it just didn't fall. It happens sometimes."
Charleston took control of the game in the first half, leading 33-14 with 6:27 left until halftime following a Quincy Washington layup. Just 6:25 later Lamar Mallory had an emphatic dunk to cut the lead to seven at the intermission.
"We just have to continue to play defense," Lipkins said. "In the first half we had 11 straight stops. In the second half, we just relaxed, let them score, let them get inside the paint and at the other end we let them set their defense."
Robbie Dreher had 12 points for UC. Cole's 20 points led Glenville, while Morris had 19 and D.J. Blanks 13.
The victory extended Downey's record against Glenville State. Now, the Golden Eagles on Thursday visit Wheeling Jesuit, a team Downey hasn't beaten during his time at University of Charleston.
"None of us are happy," Lipkins said. "It shouldn't have come down to that last shot. We should have won the game comfortably.
"We have to go into (the Wheeling Jesuit game) game relentless. We had our bad game this week, let's go up there and do what we know how to do and not be an average team."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.