CHARLESTON, W. Va. - - UVa-Wise dropped its first conference road test of the season with an 81-73 loss to the University of Charleston Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers struggled on the boards with just 30 rebounds to the Golden Eagles 50 while three Cavalier men saw double-figures.
The Cavs (4-4, 2-2 MEC) were led in scoring by freshman guard Briggs Parris who connected on 6-of-11 shots from downtown for 18 points followed by junior Michal Seals who had 17 points and added six rebounds and eight assists. Freshman forward Kaeleb Carter also scored in double figures for the Cavs with a season and career-high eleven points on 5-of-9 shooting.
The game was knotted five times in the first seven minutes of the contest as a layup by Charleston's (5-3, 1-3 MEC) Drew Rackley put the score at 16-16 with a little over 13 minutes on the clock. Freshman guard Cameron Whiteside would get an offensive rebound to dish it to junior guard Chance Sheffey who nailed his first three of the night for a two-point, 22-20 lead for the Cavs with 10:07 left in the first half. The Golden Eagles would regain the lead on a pair of free throw shots by Charleston's Josh Floyd before another three pointer by Parris pushed the Cavs ahead 26-24 with 6:52 on the clock. A three-point Golden Eagle lead with under a minute to play would be cut to one after a bucket by junior forward Eric Okenchi as the Cavs went into the half trailing Charleston, 34-33.
UVa-Wise was outscored in the paint in the opening half, 28-6, with the Cavs shooting 34.4 percent (11-for-32) from the floor while Charleston was 14-of-34 (41.2 percent) from the field. UVa-Wise hit seven shots from downtown while the Golden Eagles were stuffed at the perimeter going 0-for-11 from beyond the arc. Charleston also won the rebounding battle in the first half, 27-16, led by the Golden Eagle's Devon Robinson who had seven boards to start. Parris led UVa-Wise with nine points while Seals and Whiteside each accounted for four rebounds.
Charleston would reach a double-digit lead at the 16:06 mark on a free throw shot by Robinson, 44-34. Down by five, Whiteside would be fouled on a three pointer as he cut the Golden Eagles lead to five, knocking down two of his three shots from the charity stripe, 48-44, with 13:10 to play. After a wide-open three by Robinson pushed Charleston ahead by nine points, UVa-Wise would hang in the game to cut the Golden Eagles' advantage to two-points on a three by Parris, 60-58, with 7:27 on the clock. Charleston would increase the margin once again, but another three ball by Seals would put UVa-Wise within two points once more, 65-63, with 5:43 left in the half. Charleston's Drew Rackley would put the Golden Eagles ahead by double-digits late in the game on a trio of free throw shots for a 73-63 lead with a little over three minutes to go. UVa-Wise would be unable to regain momentum as Charleston maintained the lead, taking their largest lead of the night with 22 seconds left before going on to win the game, 81-73.
UVa-Wise improved shooting from the floor in the second half, going 13-for-30 (43.3 percent) from the floor while Charleston was 15-for-32 (46.9 percent) from the field. UVa-Wise held the Golden Eagles to shooting just 40 percent (2-for-5) in the half, 2-for-16 (12.5 percent) in the game, from beyond the arc while the Cavs were 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from downtown in the second half, shooting 13-for-29 (44.8 percent) on the night.
The Cavs shot just 38.7 percent (24-for-62) from the field in the loss while Charleston went 29-for-66 (43.9 percent) from the floor. The Golden Eagles visited the line ten more times than the Cavs as Charleston hit 21-of-26 (80.8 percent) from the charity stripe while UVa-Wise connected on 12-of-16 (80.8 percent) from the line. Charleston proved to be a force inside the paint, posting 54 points to the Cavs 14.
Blake Mellinger's squad will be back on the road for a contest against the Bobcats of West Virginia Wesleyan Wednesday night. Tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.