GRAFTON – Sophomore forward Zach White led a high-powered Buckhannon-Upshur offense in an 84-69 game against the Grafton Bearcats that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated Thursday night in Big 10 Conference action.
White scored a game-high 23 points going 10-for-15 from the floor and added eight rebounds as the Bucs won their second game in a row.
“Zach’s performance tonight was probably a mirror of his work ethic,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Travis Foster. “From day one since he has been involved with this program, he has been one of the hardest workers on the team. He is just a monster and there is nothing that holds him back. Other teams do not want to try and box him out. You are going to have to outwork him to beat him and that just isn’t going to happen.”
Foster tweaked his starting line up for the game starting the 6-2 White and 6-4 junior center Brayden Cultip underneath. The duo combined for 35 points and 17 rebounds as Cutlip scored 13 and yanked down nine rebounds.
“This was the first game where we really got to see both of them on the floor at the same time,” Foster said. “Which really helps us out on the rebounding end.”
The Bucs outrebounded Grafton by a 51-27 margin.
The Bucs landed two other players in double digits as Ryan Hurst and Dawson Lilly each scored 17 points.
“Hurst is another sophomore like White and he shot lights out tonight,” Foster said. “And Dawson just keeps getting better as he gets his legs under him after missing our first five games with an injury.”
Hurst went seven for nine from the floor and was a perfect three-for-three from behind the three-point arc. “He has been shooting lights out in practice as well,” Foster stated.
It was the second straight game where the Bucs had their highest offensive output of the season. Last week in their last game against Preston they scored 72. The 84 points from Thursday is their new season high.
“It really comes down to us finishing better on the offensive end,” Foster explained. “Plus, we are playing better on the defensive end which allows us to get down on the floor in transition. We are a good-scoring team, but we must start taking better control of the ball. We make good passes, stay patient on the offensive end and take care of the ball, but then we hit these stretches where we don’t do a very good job handling the ball.”
The Bucs, who were guilty of 21 turnovers in the win, average 19 per contest.
The game was never in doubt as the Bucs raced out to a 17-3 lead after four minutes of action following a White lay-up.
White had 11 points in the first quarter as the Bucs led Grafton after eight minutes of action by a 26-16 score.
A Cutlip free throw pushed the lead to 16 for the Bucs, at 32-16, with two minutes gone in the second quarter.
Still leading by 14, at 36-22, Hurst uncorked a trey, Lilly flipped in two foul shots and Hurst came back with a lay-up to push the B-U lead to 20, at 42-22, with 2:50 remaining in the half.
Will McCauley capped of the impressive first half for the Bucs with a free throw as B-U took a 47-29 lead into the intermission.
The third quarter was more of the same for the Bucs.
Leading 58-41, McCauley scored on a putback and White grabbed a rebound and made a basket as the Bucs opened up their biggest lead of the game, at 62-41, with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
Grafton closed the quarter on an 8-4 run as the Bucs led heading into the final by a 66-49 score.
B-U got careless with the basketball early in the fourth quarter with some unforced turnovers as Grafton trimmed the margin down to 10, at 70-60, but the Bucs built the lead right back up as quickly as it had shrunk.
Cutlip scored five straight points with a lay-up, a dunk and a free throw to push the B-U lead back to 15, at 75-60, with 3:21 remaining.
A 3-pointer by Grafton cut the lead back to down 11 with 2:07 remaining at 77-66, but the Bucs closed the game on a 7-3 run.
“We still aren’t at that place where we can knock a team out,” Foster concluded. “In that fourth quarter we were really hoping to suffocate Grafton and put them away, but we couldn’t. Grafton outscored us in the second half. But to still come out with the win is a good thing and we will keep working to get better.”
The Bucs shot 54.9 percent from the floor hitting on 28 of their 51 field goal attempts.
Jacob Loudin helped in the rout with eight assists to go along with three points.
Grafton shot 41.9 percent from the floor connecting on 26 of their 62 field goal attempts.
Jack Fulkiner lead Grafton with 20 points while Blake Moore had 14.
The victory evened Foster’s team to 4-4 overall and 4-1 in the Big 10 Conference.
They will return to action Tuesday night as they host Liberty in a conference battle starting at 7:30 p.m.
Buck.-Upshur 26 21 19 18 – 84
Grafton 16 13 20 20 – 69
Ryan Hurst 7-9 0-0 17, Jacob Loudin 0-2 3-4 3, Mason Hyre 0-1 0-0 0, Will McCauley 1-2 1-2 3, Tyler Sandreth 0-1 2-2 2, Dawson Lilly 2-7 12-14 17, Zach White 10-15 3-6 23, Ryan Strader 1-1 0-0 2, Josh Loudin 2-4 0-2 4, Brayden Cutlip 5-9 3-6 13, Noam Keith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-51 24-36 84.
Ryan Maier 1-2 2-2 5, Jack Faulkiner 7-21 5-7 20, Logan Beltner 2-6 0-0 4, Matthew Gallo 1-2 0-0 3, Blake Moore 6-15 1-2 14, Dylan Massie 4-7 1-4 10, Garrett Wellman 1-2 0-0 3, Garrett Moats 0-4 0-0 0, Caleb Bish 4-5 2-2 10, Joey Charlton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-52 11-18 69.
Three-point field goals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Hurst 3-3, Lilly 1-3, Hyre 0-1, Sandreth 0-1. Totals 4-9; Grafton: Faulkiner 1-7, Moore 1-4, Maier 1-2, Gallo 1-2, Massie 1-2, Wellman 1-1, Moats 0-2, Beltner 0-1. Totals 6-21.
Rebounds – Buckhannon-Upshur: Cutlip 9, White 8, Hurst 6, Strader 5, Josh Loudin 4, Lilly 4, McCauley 2, Hyre 1, team 6, deadball 6. Totals 52; Grafton: Massie 5, Faulkiner 4, Moore 4, Maier 2, Gallo 2, Bish 2, Moats 1, team 5, deadball 2. Totals 27.
Assists – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jacob Loudin 8, Lilly 5, Hurst 2, Sandreth 1, Strader 1, Cutlip 1. Totals 18; Grafton: Faulkiner 4, Moore 4, Massie 2, Beltner 1, Moats 1, Bish 1. Totals 13.
Steals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Lilly 6, Hurst 1, Jacob Loudin 1, Sandreth 1, White 1, Strader 1. Totals 11; Grafton: Massie 5, Moats 3, Moore 2, Maier 1, Gallo 1. Totals 12.
Blocked shots – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jacob Loudin 2, Cutlip 2, Lilly 1. Totals 5; Grafton: Faulkiner 3, Massie 2, Bish 1. Totals 6.
Personal fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur: 16; Grafton: 23.
Turnovers – Buckhannon-Upshur: 21: Grafton: 16.