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Cavs sneak into MEC tourney despite loss to Lions

Kevin Mays • Mar 2, 2019 at 10:19 PM

WISE — Virginia-Wise lost the game but backed into the Mountain East Conference men’s basketball tournament anyway.

Concord used a strong offensive attack, led by Tommy Bolte’s 30-point performance, to take an 83-72 win over the Cavaliers on Saturday at the Prior Convocation Center.

But Virginia-Wise earned the 10th and final spot in next week’s MEC tournament when West Virginia Wesleyan defeated Glenville State 73-63 on Saturday. Virginia-Wise and Glenville State tied for 10th place with identical MEC records, and the Cavaliers snagged the berth on the tiebreaker.

The Cavs will play Shepherd on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in first-round game.

STRONG START, STRONG FINISH

Concord (19-9, 14-8) opened strong, led 44-29 at halftime and withstood a late-game surge by the Cavaliers (9-19, 6-16) to take the win.

Virginia-Wise cut the Mountain Lions’ lead to 75-72 with 1:36 left to play, but Concord closed the game on an 8-0 run.

“They got the lead back to eight and after that we were back on our heels again,” said Virginia-Wise coach Blake Mellinger, whose team battled back from a deficit as high as 19 points.

“We just used so much energy to get back to that point that we never really could get ourselves over that hump.”

Jair Rodgers scored 16 points for Concord, and David Mulumba had a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Trey Brisco finished with 10 points.

Virginia-Wise got 20 points from Cameron Whiteside, 16 from Eric Okenchi, 13 from Briggs Parris and 10 from Chance Sheffey.

CONCORD WINS THE DAY

The Concord women also came away with a victory Saturday, topping the Cavs 75-65.

Virginia-Wise (13-15, 11-11) limited Riley Fitzwater, the NCAA Division II leader in field-goal percentage, to eight points and outrebounded the Mountain Lions (22-6, 17-5) by a 44-36 margin, but shooting woes doomed Jamie Cluesman’s Cavs.

“It’s just very frustrating when we attempt 71 shots to their 47 and we lose,” said Cluesman, whose squad totaled 20 offensive rebounds. “We outrebound them and we force them into more turnovers; it’s just simply putting the ball into the basket. And we simply just failed to do that today.”

Maggie Guynn scored 21 points, Madison May had 16 and Andreanna Pool added 13 for Concord.

Virginia-Wise got 17 points from Ada Stanley, and Cynita Webb recorded 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Concord and Virginia-Wise will meet again Thursday in the MEC tournament quarterfinals in Wheeling, W.Va.

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