‘Cats push No. 2 West Liberty to the limit in loss

Dedan Williams (2) of the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats slams one down over West Liberty’s Dalton Bolon during the first-half of their Mountain East Conference clash Monday night at Rockefeller Center. Wesleyan gave No. 2 West Liberty a battle but fell by an 80-71 score.

BUCKHANNON – For one half, the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats had a major upset in the works as they entertained the No. 2 team in the country West Liberty Monday night at Rockefeller Center.

The ‘Cats led 40-35 at the break, but eventually faded late as the Hilltoppers escaped Buckhannon with an 80-71 win.

“I thought our guys did a great job controlling the tempo and style of the game, especially in the first half,” remarked West Virginia Wesleyan head coach Jack Meriwether. “West Liberty made some excellent adjustments in the second half and we settled for shots early instead of trusting our offense.”

West Liberty took an early 12-5 lead after five minutes of action but Wesleyan controlled the rest of the first half.

Jalen Melvin unleashed a trey and Clay Todd made an inside jumper to jump start the Bobcat offense bringing Wesleyan to within two, at 12-10.

Wesleyan took the lead on a three-pointer by Fred Brondsted at 19-18 at the 10-minute mark of the first half.

The two teams traded the lead back-and-fourth over the next four minutes before Brondsted canned another three to put Wesleyan ahead 27-24 at the 6:53 mark.

Wesleyan led the rest of the half opening up a seven-point lead on two different occasions but settled for a five-point lead at the half.

Brondsted uncorked another three to start the half and push Wesleyan’s lead to eight, at 43-35, but West Liberty chipped away at the lead going on a 10-2 run to deadlock the game at 45-45 with 16:24 left in contest.

Marcus Larsson returned the lead back to the Bobcats at the 8:38 mark with a three-pointer, at 62-60, but it was the last lead Wesleyan would hold.

Over the next seven minutes, West Liberty went on a 17-4 run to give them a 77-66 advantage with 1:18 remaining in the game.

A trey by Braeden McGrew cut it to eight for Wesleyan, at 79-71, with 30 seconds left but the Bobcats couldn’t get any closer.

“The margin for error against a team of that caliber is very small and we just didn’t quite do everything we needed to get the win,” concluded Meriwether.

Brondsted led the Bobcats with 17 points including five three-pointers.

Dusan Vicentic and Luka Petrovic also reached double digits for the Bobcats scoring 12 and 11 points respectively.

Petrovic just missed a double-double dishing out nine assists.

Todd added nine points.

Dalton Bolon led West Liberty with 23 points while Eric Meininger tallied a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

Will Yoakum added 16 points for West Liberty and Yahel Hill chipped in seven.

West Liberty improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Mountain East Conference.

Wesleyan dropped to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the MEC.

The Bobcats will now be idle over the Thanksgiving Day break and will return to action Wednesday when they visit Shepherd University for a 7:30 p.m. MEC contest.

The boxscore:

West Liberty                       35  45 – 80

West Virginia Wesleyan   40  31 – 71

West Liberty 80

Dalton Bolon 8-18 2-3 23, Eric Meininger 6-8 5-6 17, Will Yoakum 6-9 2-2 16, Yahel Hill 2-5 3-4 7, Luke Dyer 1-4 0-0 3, Tyler Primmer 2-2 0-0 6, Keegan Saben 2-3 0-2 4, Brady Arnold 1-4 0-0 02, Marlon Moore Jr. 1-1 0-0 2, Nate Allen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-54 12-17 80.

West Virginia Wesleyan 71

Fred Brondsted 6-11 0-0 17, Dusan Vicentic 4-7 1-2 12, Luka Petrovic 5-11 0-0 11, Clay Todd 4-7 0-0 9, Daylin Lee 2-6 0-0 6, Edward Flohr 1-4 2-4 5, Dedan Williams 2-6 0-0 5, Marcus Larsson 1-2 0-0 3, Braeden McGrew 1-1 0-0 3, Jalen Melvin 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 26-55 3-7 71.

Three-point field goals – West Liberty: Bolon 5-12, Yoakum 2-3, Primmer 2-2, Dyer 1-4, Saben 0-1, Arnold 0-2, Hill 0-3. Totals 10-27; West Virginia Wesleyan: Brondsted 5-9, Vicentic 3-5, Lee 2-5, Todd 1-2, Larsson 1-2, McGrew 1-1, Flohr 1-4, Williams 1-4, Petrovic 1-5. Totals 16-37.

Rebounds – West Liberty: Meininger 13, Bolon 5, Dyer 5, Arnold 4, Hill 2, Saben 2, Primmer 1, Moore Jr. 1. Totals 33; Petrovic 4, Todd 4, Brondsted 3, Williams 2, Melvin 2, Vicentic 1, Lee 1, Flohr 1, Larsson 1. Total 19.

Assists – West Liberty: Meininger 10, Dyer 4, Bolon 2, Yoakum 1, Hill 1, Primmer 1, Saben 1, Arnold 1, Allen 1. Totals 22; West Virginia Wesleyan: Petrovic 9, Vicentic 4, Brondsted 2, Flohr 2, Todd 1, Melvin 1. Totals 19.

Steals – West Liberty: Meininger 1, Hill 1, Dyer 1, Saben 1. Total 4; West Virginia Wesleyan: Petrovic 3, Brondsted 1, Todd 1, Flohr 1. Totals 6.

Blocks – West Liberty: None; West Virginia Wesleyan: Petrovic 1, Larsson 1. Total 2.

Personal fouls – West Liberty: 17; West Virginia Wesleyan: 16.

Turnovers – West Liberty: 10; West Virginia Wesleyan: 10.


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