ATHENS — It’s been a rough week for the Mountain Lions, who faced two MEC opponents this week, Wheeling and WV Wesleyan. The men were unable to pick up either wins; and the women, after falling to the Cardinals, barely squeaked by WV Wesleyan by one point.
The weekend started out in Wheeling against the Cardinals for both teams where the Concord University men’s basketball team was on the short side of a loss inside the McDonough Center, but CU was unable to get a final shot away as it fell by three points, 74-71.
Concord was forced to chase the lead for much of the game including being down 42-37 at halftime. To open the second half, CU went on a 7-0 run to take a 44-42 lead with 17:43 remaining in the contest. It would be the last lead for the Mountain Lions. Though chasing the lead, Concord stayed within one possession of the Cardinals until the 11:53 mark of the second half.
The Mountain Lions were down by as much as 11 points with eight minutes left in the game before storming back and having a late chance at forcing overtime against Wheeling (8-4, 5-3 MEC).
Liam Evans had a strong first half as he scored 14 of his 19 points in the opening 20 minutes while grabbing 10 rebounds to secure his first career double-double. Malik Johnson closed the game well as he matched Evans’ 19 points. Freshman guard Ethan Heller dropped in 10 points.
When it came time to face WV Wesleyan on Wednesday, the Mountain Lions rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to force overtime, but fell to West Virginia Wesleyan, 83-80 at the Rockefeller Center.
CU trailed 55-43 with 10:05 left in the game, but outscored the Bobcats 32-18 over the final 10 minutes of regulation to go up 75-73 with seven seconds left after a free throw from senior guard Trey Brisco. On the ensuing WVWC possession, Concord forced a deep three-pointer, but Wesleyan got an offensive stick back on an air ball as the horn sounded to force overtime.
The Mountain Lions took their first lead of overtime as junior guard/forward Malik Johnson canned a three-pointer to put Concord up 78-76. However, WVWC scored three straight points to go up 79-78 before Johnson’s driving layup with 46 seconds remaining in overtime.
Wesleyan came back with a bucket to go up one before getting two defensive stops and making two free throws to hold off Concord.
On the women’s side, the Lady Lions fared no better against Wheeling on Saturday afternoon stalling out in the second half and falling to the Cardinals , 64-58.
Down 33-25 at halftime, Concord trailed by as many as 11 points in third quarter, 40-29, before a 10-0 run catapulted the Mountain Lions back into the game. Sophomore guard Maggie Guynn scored eight of the 10 points during the spurt while fellow sophomore guard Gracie Robinson’s layup at the 4:51 mark got CU to within, 40-39.
However, Wheeling held Concord scoreless for the remainder of the third quarter, and led 47-49 after 30 minutes. The Cardinals maintained a lead of at least eight points until freshman guard Sasha Bats got an offensive putback at the 5:35 mark of the fourth quarter that sparked a 10-2 run. Senior forward Madison May scored the next four points. Guynn hit two free throws and May came up with two more foul shots with 2:24 left to tie the score. But on the ensuing trip down the floor for Wheeling, the Cardinals hit a three to put them up for good in the game.
Guynn tallied 12 points.
When the women faced WV Wesleyan on Wednesday, they were able to erase a halftime deficit against West Virginia Wesleyan, and held off a fourth-quarter to earn a 65-64 win at the Rockefeller Center.
Trailing 28-25 at halftime, Concord surged in front of the Bobcats by outscoring them 18-12 in the third quarter. Guynn and May combined for 14 of the 18 points while junior forward Riley Fitzwater added the other four points in the period.
CU opened the fourth on a 7-2 run on a three-pointer from freshman guard Jazz Blankenship and a back-to-back buckets from junior forward Tamra Scott as Concord opened up its biggest lead of the game, 50-42, at the 8:31 mark.
Holding off any WVWC comeback attempts, Concord still led by six, 61-55, with 3:12 remaining in the game. However, nine of the next 11 points belonged to Wesleyan as it took a 64-63 edge 36 seconds remaining.
With a layup at the 1:36 mark of the fourth quarter—CU’s final field goal of the game—Fitzwater became the 18th player in program history with 1,000 career points.
Guynn finished with a game-best 21 points. May added a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Fitzwater just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Both teams will welcome Davis and Elkins to the Carter Center on Saturday where the women will take the court at 2 p.m. while the men start play at 4 p.m. After that the teams hit the road for a three-game away schedule.