Alexis Tucker and Jaisah Smith...

Bluefield State’s Alexis Tucker (left) gets a hand in the face of Concord’s Jaisah Smith (right) during the women’s game of Tuesday night’s co-ed hoops twinbill at the Carter Center, in Athens.

ATHENS — The rivalry between Bluefield State College and Concord University has a long, long history — now 100 games long.

The centennial edition of the clash between Mercer County colleges ultimately belonged to Concord’s Mountain Lions, 92-87, on Tuesday night at the Carter Center in Athens.

It had been 652 days since the two schools met in a men’s basketball game.

Concord head coach Todd May said that only two players on his current roster, Ethan Heller and Brandon Kennedy, had played in a game against Bluefield State.

May said he invited former CU head coach Steve Cox to talk to his players on Monday about the significance of the rivalry with the Big Blues. But that only went so far, May said.

“But we can talk all we want,” May said. “You just have to experience it, and live it, to have a full understanding of it. And our guys got that experience tonight.”

Both teams entered the game 0-2 after facing tough foes on the road last weekend.

Bluefield State’s remade team took to the floor with a frenetic intensity instilled by new head coach Devin Hoehn, who learned the tactics while playing at West Liberty. A big crowd of Big Blue fans were ensconced behind the visitors’ bench.

Hoehn said, “I expected a battle. It’s a rivalry game … great crowd, great environment. Couldn’t ask for a better game. Just wish we would have had a different outcome, but it was a good game.

“Todd May, he’s got a great team.”

May said, “Give them credit. Devin’s got it rolling there. Obviously, they’re an 0-3 team, but they’re much better than that. That team’s going to win some games this year … .”

Da’Vion Moore led the way for Concord, sinking all but one of his 10 field-goal attempts. He ended with 20 points and eight rebounds, and credited the vibes from the stands for part of his performance.

“I feed off of fans,” Moore said, “so my energy is way up when I can get energy from the fans.”

He added, “My teammates, they all make it easy on me.”

Moore said May had told him about BSC, “They don’t give up, and they don’t quit playing until the end, no matter what. Even if we go on a run, they’re going to come back fully energized and try to get stops ….”

Heller added 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

His 3-pointer from in front of the Bluefield State bench gave CU a 34-25 lead in the first half and prompted a quick timeout by Hoehn. The Mountain Lions took their largest spread, 49-31, on a pretty three from Kennedy with 2:07 left in the first half.

The Big Blue sank three of the last four field goals of the half and trailed 54-41 at the break.

That foreshadowed what was to come. The visitors scored the first nine points after intermission to cut the lead to one. Marquez Cooper soon gave BSC the lead back, 57-56, with a bucket in the paint. But it didn’t last.

Twice in the last three minutes, BSC cut the lead to a single point, the latter coming on a dunk by Khamaury McMillan with 1:27 on the clock to produce an 87-86 score.

But Heller answered with one final trey, and Moore threw down a dunk for the final points of the contest.

“Their press is really good,” Heller said. “They’re physical. All game long, they’re up in you, so you’ve really got to take care of the ball. At times we were really good, and at other times we weren’t.”

Concord shot 50 percent from the floor after halftime.

May said, “They had given up 55 or 56 percent, defensive field-goal percentage, over the weekend. We knew, with the way they press, that you’re going to get some open looks and some layups.”

He said, “We had seven turnovers (early in the second half). They put a lot of pressure on you, (but) we found a way to win. That’s the main thing.”

Heller said, “I think we’re a really good team, headed in the right direction.”

McMillan had 20 points and four steals for Bluefield State. Cooper contributed 19 points, a dozen rebounds and four assists. BSC took 81 shots from the field and forced 20 Concord turnovers.

Hoehn said about the Big Blue, “I understand that losses aren’t good, but I’m telling you, we’re slowly getting it together.”

He noted that his roster includes 12 new players and he started three freshmen.

“We’re young. We’re getting there,” the coach said. “I know guys are holding their heads down because we’re 0-3, but it’s part of the journey. … We’ve got to start finishing games, but that’s going to come.”

“We’re going to be fine.”

Women’s game

Concord 56, BSC 43

The Mountain Lions claimed their 11th straight win against the Blues, behind 18 points by Riley Fitzwater and 14 from sophomore Maddie Ratcliffe.

Fitzwater made seven of her nine field-goal tries and went 4-of-5 in free throws. She contributed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots.

Katrina Davis was the top scorer for Bluefield State (0-3) with 11 points. Dani Janutolo added 10 points and five rebounds. The leading point producer so far this season for BSC, Azariah Binford, had nine points, five rebounds and four assists.

Davis nailed a 3-pointer late in the first quarter to give Bluefield State its largest lead in the game, 14-4. Concord scored the next 18 points to begin the runaway.

The Concord women (3-0) are off to the program’s best beginning in 13 years.

Concord will travel up the Turnpike on Saturday for a doubleheader with the University of Charleston. The women’s game tips off the double-dip with a 2 p.m. start.

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