UVa-Wise downs Yellow Jackets, 105-92

WISE - Men's basketball had six players score in double-digits as the Cavaliers fought off the Yellow Jackets in a commanding 105-92 win over West Virginia State Wednesday night.

Junior guard Michal Seals and junior forward Tajh Eason both posted double-doubles with Seals registering 14 points and 12 assists while Eason went for 17 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman forward Cameron Whiteside led the team with 18 points with three rebounds and a pair of blocks and assists. Freshman guard Briggs Parris had 16 points for the Cavs while junior forward Eric Okenchi recorded 14 points with five rebounds. Junior guard Chance Sheffey rounded out the double-figure scoring with 15 points and added seven assists.

The Cavaliers got off to a slow start as the Yellow Jackets went on a 6-0 run but UVa-Wise would climb back with a run of their own capped off by a Whiteside three ball to take an 8-6 lead with 16:19 on the clock in the first half. The Cavs would take a seven-point advantage following a trio of three balls with the scoreboard reading 19-12 at the 13:13 mark. UVa-Wise would go ahead by double-digits with 11:43 on the clock as Sheffey kicked the ball out to Parris as he knocked one down from beyond the arc for a 24-14 advantage. The Yellow Jackets attempted a comeback with a three-point play by Glen Abram putting West Virginia State down four, 25-21, as the teams went into a media timeout with under 10 minutes to play. UVa-Wise would maintain the lead with a dunk by sophomore forward Jordan Pointer giving the Cavs a 37-31 lead with 5:10 on the clock. Yellow Jackets would turn the ball over as the Cavs capitalized with a three-pointer for a 12-point 49-37 lead with 1:22 to go in the opening half. Whiteside would close out the first half connecting on a pair of free throws as the Cavs held their largest lead of the night up 51-39 over West Virginia State.

UVa-Wise shot 48.6 percent (17-for-35) from the floor to the Yellow Jackets 42.9 percent (12-for-28) from the field. The Cavs connected on an impressive eight three-pointers to start, shooting 47.1 percent from downtown while knocking down 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.

The Yellow Jackets would come out of halftime with a short run to get within nine points, 52-43 on a layup by Abram. West Virginia State would continue to close the gap with a shot by Isaiah Noel putting the Yellow Jackets within four points, 54-50, with a little under 17 minutes on the clock. Seals would hit Whiteside for another three ball to put UVa-Wise up by 13 points, 65-52, with 14:44 to go. UVa-Wise would hold onto the lead as West Virginia State narrowed the margin to single digits on a layup by senior forward Pat Johnson-Agwu cutting UVa-Wise's lead to seven points with a little over seven minutes to play, 81-74. A late three by Seals at the 2:05 mark would boost UVa-Wise as they held a 13-point, 99-86, lead. A dunk by Whiteside with less than a minute to go would seal the deal as the Cavs held on for a 105-92 victory over the Yellow Jackets.

UVa-Wise shot 48.6 percent (18-for-37) in the second half while the Yellow Jackets were 23-for-36 (63.9 percent) from the floor. The Cavs hit 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) from downtown and 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) from the line.

The Cavs finished the night going 35-for-72 (48.6 percent) from the floor, 14-for-28 (50 percent) from downtown, and went 21-for-24 (87.5 percent) from the free throw line. The Yellow Jackets shot 35-for-64 (54.7 percent) from the field, connecting on just two shots from beyond the arc and going 20-for-23 (87 percent) from the charity stripe. The Yellow Jackets outrebounded the Cavs 37-34 while UVa-Wise posted 25 assists to West Virginia State's 15. The Yellow Jackets recorded 62 points inside the paint and 40 bench points while UVa-Wise put up 40 points down low and added 26 points from the bench.

Blake Mellinger's team will return to action on Saturday as they begin conference play on the road with a contest against the Golden Eagles of the University of Charleston. Tip is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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