BUCKHANNON — The West Virginia Wesleyan College men’s basketball team (1-3, 0-1) dropped its Mountain East Conference opener 85-81 in a close game against Frostburg State (1-3, 0-1) on Saturday night inside the Rockefeller Center.
Following a hotly contested first half, the Bobcats found themselves only trailing by one at the half, down 43-42. Things were fairly even between these two teams all night, with neither team imposing their will on the game. It seemed that this back-and-forth affair would tip Wesleyan’s way when with around ten minutes to play, Braeden McGrew drew a foul while draining a corner three, this 4-point play put the Bobcats up 67-64. The Bobcats were in a good position to take this one down the stretch, even managing to get out to a 79-74 lead with a little over four minutes to play, but a late 11-2 run put Frostburg State ahead till the end.
Jayden Hibbitt scored a career-high 26 on 12 of 16 shooting from the field, while also pulling down six rebounds. Tyler Slone also recorded a career-high and did so in very efficient fashion scoring 19 points on 8 of 10 shooting, while pulling down nine rebounds. McGrew came alive for the Bobcats in the second half, tallying all 12 of his points after halftime, adding a much-needed offensive spark in such an evenly matched game. Tommie Pope also made his mark on the game, registering another double-digit scoring night, chipping in 12 points while tallying four steals.
As a team, Wesleyan finished 33 for 69 shooting (47.8%), while Frostburg shot 33 for 57 (57.9%). These two teams were even on the boards, with each pulling down 34 rebounds. One major positive takeaway in this one for the Bobcats was that their defense caused 19 Frostburg State turnovers. If the Bobcats can generate the same sort of defensive pressure in the weeks to come, then they should quickly find themselves getting back on the right track.
The WVWC men’s basketball team will hope to get back on track when they travel to Fairmont State on Tuesday for their next game, with the Bobcats and Falcons tipping off at 7:30 p.m.