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Charleston sweeps UVa-Wise; men's tournament hopes take hit

Kevin Mays • Feb 28, 2019 at 12:58 AM

WISE — As Charleston started to pull away from Virginia-Wise in the second half Wednesday, so did the chances the Cavaliers clinching a berth in next week’s Mountain East Conference basketball tournament in Wheeling, W. Va.

Charleston scored the first eight points of the second half to break a 36-36 tie and never trailed in the final 20 minutes on the way to an 85-74 MEC win over the host Cavaliers at the Prior Convocation Center.

NOT TOO EASY TO FIGURE OUT

Virginia-Wise’s loss, coupled with Glenville State’s upset win over Shepherd, put the Cavs (9-18, 6-15) and Glenville State (11-16, 6-15) in a tie for the 10th and final spot in the conference’s post-season tournament.

The two teams trail West Virginia Wesleyan (10-17, 7-14) and Wheeling Jesuit (8-19, 7-14) by one game in the MEC standings.

SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE

Despite the Wednesday loss, Virginia-Wise still has a chance to make the tournament. But the options are limited.

If the Cavaliers win Saturday and Glenville State loses, the Cavs will claim the 10th seed in the tournament.

That’s the best chance for Virginia-Wise and what Cavalier coach Blake Mellinger wants to see.

“We’ve got treat it like the first round of the tournament because, like I told the guys in the locker room, we don’t want to leave it someone else’s hands to have to lose a game for us to get in. We just need to win a game.”

CLEAR AS MUD

Virginia-Wise could win Saturday and still be left out of the tournament field.

According to the MEC’s playoff scenario, if Glenville State beats West Virginia Wesleyan and Wheeling Jesuit loses to nationally ranked No. 5 West Liberty on Saturday and Virginia-Wise beats Concord, then West Virginia Wesleyan, Wheeling Jesuit, Glenville State and Virginia-Wise would all have identical conference records.

In such a four-way tie scenario, Wheeling Jesuit, West Virginia Wesleyan and Glenville State would earn the 8-10 tournament seeds. And Virginia-Wise would be on the outside looking in at the tournament.

WEDNESDAY SCORING

In Wednesday’s win, Charleston had five players score in double figures with Lamont McManus leading the way with 19 points. Drew Rackley scored 16 for Charleston, while Adam Traore had 13 and Devon Robinson finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Rahji Langford led the Cavaliers with 17 points, Kaeleb Carter and Cameron Whiteside scored 13 points each and Eric Okenchi finished with 10.

CAVALIER WOMEN FALL, STILL HOPE FOR A FIFTH SEED

Virginia-Wise led in the first minute of the game and that was it.

Charleston (22-5, 17-4) took the lead early and held it for most of the game on the way to a 74-59 MEC win.

The Cavalier loss, coupled with a Notre Dame College loss, kept Virginia-Wise (13-14, 11-10) and Notre Dame tied for the fifth spot in the conference standings with one regular-season game left for both squads on Saturday.

The Cavs host Concord, while Notre Dame travels to Urbana. Virginia-Wise can gain the fifth spot, but because Notre Dame owns the tiebreaker, the Cavaliers have to win Saturday and Urbana would have to beat Notre Dame.

WEDNESDAY WIN

In Wednesday’s win, Charleston got 20 points from Raziyah Farrington, while Anna Hayton finished with 18 points for the Golden Eagles.

Charleston got a double-double from Dionna Sanders with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Brooklyn Pannell had 10 points.

Ada Stanley led Virginia-Wise in the scoring column with 15 points. Hanna Oliver added 10 points.

The Cavaliers also got 11 rebounds from Nokomis Williams.

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