BUCKHANNON — Monday, the West Virginia Wesleyan men’s basketball team, fueled by an all-around team effort, secured first year Head Coach Derek Sloan’s first career victory as the Bobcats (1-2) defeated Seton Hill (0-3), 85-79 at the Rockefeller Center.
This one was tight from start to finish, with seven ties and nine different lead changes, but the Bobcats did all the little things they needed to in order to defend their home court and earn their new head coach his first career victory. The action was back and forth in the first half, with neither team imposing their will on the other. Heading into the locker room for halftime, the Bobcats held a 42-36 lead. The Bobcats’ managed to get their lead as high as 18 halfway through the second half but couldn’t quite seem to put Seton Hill away for good.
Following a 20-4 run, Seton Hill cut the Bobcats’ lead to 71-69 with only 3:08 remaining. However, back-to-back clutch threes from Shawn Moran put Wesleyan up 77-69 with just 1:25 to go, forcing Seton Hill to intentionally foul and put the Bobcats on the line. The Bobcats sunk their free throws to come out victorious.
Jayden Hibbitt led the Bobcats in scoring for the third consecutive game on the young season, putting up 21 points and adding eight rebounds. Joseph Keenan put on a shooting clinic against Seton Hill, scoring all 15 of his points off of threes. Tommie Pope scored 11 points, while pulling down six rebounds, and showing a touch of playmaking ability by netting three assists. Braeden McGrew played as a star in his role of complementary scorer and playmaker, scoring 12 points and dishing out three assists. Former Lewis County High star Shawn Moran came alive in the second half, scoring 10 of his 12 points on the night down the stretch, adding a much-needed spark that spurred the team to a home win.
Overall, the Bobcats shot an efficient 54.7% from the field on 29 for 53 shooting. The Bobcats felt comfortable shooting from range, hitting 12 of their 25 shots from deep. A game as competitive as this one is often won and lost on the boards and that was the case Monday night. The Bobcats narrowly outrebounded Seton Hill by a 33-27 margin, which was a huge difference in this game.
After getting their coach his first win at the helm, the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats will look to keep the momentum going when they welcome Frostburg State to the Rockefeller Center for the Mountain East Conference opener on Saturday at 4 p.m.