After coming off of a big Mid- South Conference win, the UVa-Wise men’s basketball team looked to earn another key conference victory over the visiting Shawnee State Bears on Dec.1. The Bears had other ideas, overcoming a deficit late and going on to take a 76-68 comeback victory over the Cavs.
The Cavs jumped out to a 7-3 lead highlighted by five points from freshman standout Matt Day, but the Bears would tie the game at seven on a three-pointer by Jeremy Bennington with 16:15 remaining in the first half.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by sophomore Javon Moore and junior Darius Smith gave the Cavs a 15-9 lead. Sophomore Tyler Maggard later added a three of his own to extend the lead to 22-13 with 10:28 left in the first half.
A steal by Devon Carter led to a basket in transition for the Bears as they cut the Cavs’ lead to 25-22 with 5:49 until halftime.
The Cavs then went on a tear with 3-pointers by Day, Moore and Smith to close out the first half with a 40-32 lead.
The Bears never led in the first half as the Cavs capitalized on missed opportunities by the Bears.
Moore and Day both led the Cavs with 10 points at halftime. The Bears were led by 11 points off the bench by Tyler Morgan and 10 by Bennington.
To start the second half, the Bears went on an 8-0 run to cut the Cavs’ lead to 42-40.
A 3-pointer by Bennington and a technical called on Smith led the Bears to tie the game up at 44 with 16:19 left in the game.
Head coach Lee Clark would sit Smith out and he didn’t return the rest of the game.
The Bears took their first lead of the ballgame on a Nick Gouch shot a minute later and didn’t look back.
Morgan hit a 3-pointer to extend the Bears’ lead to 52-48 with 12:40 left in the ballgame.
The Cavs came back to tie the ballgame with 5:39 left in the game when James Turner led to a nice bounce pass from Moore to freshman Charles George, who fouled while flying through the air to the basket. The basket counted to tie the game at 61, but George missed the free throw.
Tony Banks came off the bench for the Bears and scored eight of his 12 points in the final four minutes to seal the 76-68 win over the Cavs.
“We gave up a lot of easy buckets inside in the second half,” Clark said. “Their physical presence around the basket really whipped us in the second half.”
Day led the Cavs with 16 points and seven rebounds. Turner and Moore combined for 24 points.
Morgan and Bennington led the Bears with 22 and 19 points, respectively.
With the loss, the Cavs fall to 4-5 on the season and 1-4 in the Mid-South Conference.
The Bears improve to 5-4 and 3-2 in Mid-South play.