CHARLESTON – Senior guard Mo Berchie scored a game-high 28 points for the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats in their Mountain East Conference second-round tournament game with the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals today at the Charleston Civic Center.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they dropped a 90-63 decision as just one other Bobcat was able to reach double digits.
Wesleyan was never able to slow down the Wheeling Jesuit offense as they shot 60 percent from the floor including hitting 13 three-pointers.
"I was proud of our effort but Wheeling Jesuit played a heck of a game," remarked Wesleyan interim head coach Jack Meriwether. "On the whole, we were going to have to have a lot of things go our way, and it just wasn't our day. But our guys battled and play really hard which I was incredibly proud of."
Things started off well enough for the Bobcats.
Trailing by a 4-2 score, Kevin Kangni fired in back-to-back three pointers to give Wesleyan an 8-4 lead at the 17:04 mark. The four points was the biggest lead of the game for Wesleyan.
Wheeling Jesuit made two straight treys, but Luke Layhew downed a jumper and Berchie popped in a jumper to keep Wesleyan ahead by a 12-10 score with six minutes gone in the half.
Wheeling Jesuit's Jarin Hilson and Kangni traded three pointers as that left Wesleyan up by a 15-13 score at the 13:11 mark.
It was the last lead Wesleyan would have.
Wheeling Jesuit scored the next five points before Berchie ended the mini-run with a jumper to make it an 18-17 contest with 11:17 showing on the clock.
Over the next eight minutes, Wheeling Jesuit started to pull away from the Bobcats outscoring them by a 19-10 margin.
Wesleyan trailed at this point by a 37-28 score with 3:14 to go in the half.
Berchie uncorked a three-pointer, and after two Wheeling Jesuit free throws, Layhew went inside for a lay-up that made it a 39-33 game with 1:24 left in the opening half.
The teams would go to the locker rooms with the halftime scoring being 39-33.
Wheeling Jesuit opened the second half on a 7-0 for a 46-33 lead and never looked back.
"That has been the story with us against Wheeling Jesuit," Meriwether said. "It has always been one stretch where we can't seem to stop them. They caught us in this stretch. In this league, you can't have a bad four-five minute stretch and hope to win."
Berchie ended the run to make it a 46-35 score, but Wesleyan could never get any closer than 11 points the rest of the half to Wheeling Jesuit.
Wesleyan shot the ball at a 47.7 percent clip, hitting on 21 of their 44 field goal attempts.
Wesleyan was outrebounded by a 33-19 margin.
Wheeling Jesuit improved their record to 23-6 and will now play West Liberty in a semi-final game tomorrow.
The Bobcats ended their season with a 13-16 record.