Cavalier men come up just short against Notre Dame College Tuesday

WISE, Va. - The UVa-Wise men's basketball team scored a program record 67 points in the second half but it wasn't quite enough to upend visiting Notre Dame College Tuesday night in the David J. Prior Convocation Center. The Cavaliers (3-11, 1-7 MEC) were defeated 98-89 by the Falcons (12-2, 6-2 MEC) in the Mountain East Conference home matchup, despite outscoring Notre Dame College 67-53 in the second half.

Three different Cavs earned career highs and the 67 second-half points were the most scored in any quarter in UVa-Wise men's basketball program history. Even with Notre Dame College shooting 52.8 percent (19-of-36) in the second half, UVa-Wise played a determined 20 minutes of basketball that included 11 steals and 13 forced turnovers. Going to an aggressive full-court press on the defensive end, the Cavs scored 22 points off turnovers in the half and shot 43.6 percent (17-of-39) from the field, including going 6-of-15 (40 percent) from deep.

UVa-Wise played inspired the first five minutes of the game and took an early 8-5 lead after a layup by redshirt sophomore forward Dimitri Sousa (São Paulo, Brazil). Continued defensive effort by the Cavs extended UVa-Wise's lead to five at 10-5 seven minutes into the contest after a layup by redshirt junior forward Taiwo Badmus (London, England). However, that lead would quickly vanish as the Falcons went on a 19-4 run over the next seven and a half minutes of play to build a 10-point lead at 24-14.

Notre Dame College continued its onslaught and finished out the half by outscoring UVa-Wise 21-8, giving the Falcons a 23-point, 45-22 lead at the break. Knocking down nine 3-pointers in the final 13 minutes of the half, Notre Dame College shot 45.7 percent (16-of-35) in the opening 20 minutes and held the Cavs to just 26.7 percent (8-of-30) shooting. The Falcons got 18 first-half points from guard Kyauta Taylor, who made 4-of-5 from distance, and three treys from Oliver Megins. UVa-Wise was a woeful 1-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half. Badmus led the Cavs at the break with eight points and seven rebounds.

Four quick points from Badmus to begin the second half made it a 19-point game just over a minute in. But, Notre Dame College went on a 15-6 run over the next five minutes of play to extend its lead to the largest of the night at 60-32.

A 3-pointer by junior guard Ricardo Hill Jr. (Cincinnati, Ohio) capped a quick 15-5 run by the Cavs, getting UVa-Wise to within 18 at 65-47 with 12 minutes to go. After a Kobie Johnson layup extended the Falcons lead back 23 with 8:26 on the clock, the Cavs outscored Notre Dame College 23-12 over the next five minutes of play to make it a 12-point game at 87-75 with 3:24 to play.

Despite the Cavs' continued press frustrating the Falcons, UVa-Wise was kept at an arm's length for the next two minutes before a Badmus layup with 46 seconds remaining trimmed down the deficit to 10 at 97-87. Notre Dame College made one free throw down the stretch but the Cavs weren't able to capitalize on the offensive end to get any closer.

Badmus hit a pair of foul shots following an offensive rebound with 15 seconds left, getting UVa-Wise to within single digits for the first time since the 4:15 mark of the first half.

Being outrebounded 49-39 by the much bigger Falcons, the Cavs gave up 18 offensive rebounds that led to 20 second-chance points for Notre Dame College. UVa-Wise outscored the Falcons 34-30 in points in the paint and collected a total of 30 points off of 21 Notre Dame College miscues. The Cavs got 15 points off the bench and made a season-high 32 free throws in 41 attempts, going 27-of-33 (81.8 percent) from the foul line in the second half alone.

Freshman point guard Michal Seals (Lancaster, Pa.) had a tremendous night, almost reaching a triple-double on his way scoring a career-high 24 points, grabbing a career-high nine rebounds, dishing out seven assists and making career-high tying four steals. The court commander played all 40 minutes but scored all of his points in the final 14 minutes of the second half, collecting 17 of his 24 points at the charity stripe where he was 17-of-18.

Badmus earned his sixth double-double of the season for the Cavs with 23 points and a team-high 16 rebounds. Hill Jr. tallied a career-high 14 points in the final 16 and a half minutes of the game, going 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Freshman guard Tajh Eason (Newport News, Va.) also earned a career high, scoring seven points in nine minutes of second-half action off the bench. Freshman guard Chance Sheffey (Staunton, Va.) added seven points and three assists for UVa-Wise, while Sousa and junior guard DeMarcus Edwards (Washington, D.C.) each finished with six points.

Notre Dame College was led by Taylor's game-high 32 points, which included 7-of-10 shooting from distance, and Will Vorhees' double-double of 21 points and 17 rebounds. Taylor also handed out seven assists, while the Falcons got 15 points and five assists from Megins and 12 points and six assists from Johnson. Drew Scarberry scored 14 points off the bench for Notre Dame College.

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