FAIRMONT – The West Virginia Wesleyan basketball team opened their 2016-17 season with a 59-52 setback to Bowie State in the Joe Retton Classic held at Fairmont State University.
Wesleyan wouldn't have the lead for the first of the first half, but a Berchie lay-up at the first-half buzzer tied the game at 27-27.
The Bobcats scored the first four points of the second half on a Clay Todd jumper and a 12-footer by Berchie to take a 31-27 advantage.
A Berchie lay-up gave Wesleyan their biggest lead of the game, five points at 43-38, with 10:36 remaining in the contest.
A Dusan Vicentic free throw kept Wesleyan ahead by three, at 46-43, but it was all Bowie State after that.
Wesleyan went scoreless over the next four minutes as Bowie State built a 52-46 lead with two minutes remaining.
Vicentic ended the drought with a jumper to make it a 52-48 contest and Todd flipped in a free throw to bring Wesleyan to within three, at 52-49, with 57 seconds remaining.
Wesleyan couldn't get any closer as Bowie State scored the next five to grab a 57-49 lead with 16 seconds left.
Berchie hit a three pointer to make it a 57-52 game with seven seconds left.
Bowie State hit a pair of free throws to wrap up the scoring.
Berchie led the Bobcats in scoring with 14 points while Brondsted had 12 and Vicentic tallied seven.
Luke Layhew grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Wesleyan will return to action Saturday as they play Clarion in day two of the Joe Retton Classic at FSU.
The game will tip-off at 3 p.m.