Matt Day gives fans a game to talk about for years to come.
Matt Day shone on Senior Night with a career-high 49 points to boost the Cavs over the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets Feb. 29.
Coach Blake Mellinger started a bigger lineup for Senior Night as usual starter, Gervelle Kidd was out due to injury.
The Cavs came out hot from the start by burying 3’s on the Jackets’ lackluster defense. The combination of Matt Day and Philip Owens could not be denied as the Cavs would run away with the game early leading 45 to 25 halfway through the first half.
As Day and Owens continued to score with ease, West Virginia State didn’t help their cause with two technical fouls in the first half.
The defensive strategy for the Cavs seemed to be the zone leaving the Yellow Jackets with no scoring options and poor shooting as the first half came to an end with the Cavs leading 62-36.
The second half started more stellar shooting by the Cavs as Dimitri Sosa looked to make his presence known. The Yellow Jackets continued to show their lack of defense by fouling instead of defending, picking up five fouls in the first five minutes of the second half. Pair that with four technical fouls throughout the game and Yellow Jackets seemed to be down and out.
As the Cavs led 82-56, West Virginia State began to trigger a run. They would drop three straight long bombs and improve their defensive intensity cutting the lead to 11 with five minutes left in the game. The run would eventually stall giving the Cavs the win with a final score of 102 to 89.
Day finished with 49 points and made 24 free throws, both breaking school records in his final game. Coach Mellinger attributed the win to the zone and the size of the lineup aiding defensive contests.
The Cavs would lose their final regular season game on the road and then lose in MEC tournament. Although the Cavs couldn’t make as much of a splash in the tournament, they certainly gave the fans a show on their last home game of the season.
The Cavs would finish the season at 4-25 dropping 9 out of their last 10 games but are looking to the future for success with most of the roster returning next season.
This was a gritty team that lost eight games by eight points or less throughout the season and Coach Mellinger definitely wants to improve on a lackluster season. Going into next year, the Cavs are not only looking to build on the young talent but leaning on the fans to show their passion at the games as well as they will be talking about Matt Day’s record breaking performance for years to come.