Basketball ‘Cats drop season opener to No. 18 I.U.P.

INDIANA, Pa. — The West Virginia Wesleyan (0-1) men’s basketball team got off to a hot shooting start before falling to No. 18 Indiana (Pa.) (1-0) by a final score of 87-61 in the season opener on Friday at the IRMC/Hilton Garden Inn Classic.

Leaders for WVWC
Jayden Hibbitt led the Bobcats in scoring with 15 points. Shawn Moran finished 4-for-5 from behind the arc for a total of 14 points. Braeden McGrew distributed eight assists and scored 11 points. Tyler Slone scored 10 points in his collegiate debut. Tommie Pope ripped down six rebounds and dished out six assists.

Leaders for Indiana (Pa.)
Tommy Demogerontas put together a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds. Shawndale Jones led all scorers with 19 points.

Team Stats
Wesleyan forced 18 turnovers and picked up 14 steals against the Crimson Hawks. IUP shot 51 percent from the field (32-for-63). WVWC made 11 shots from 3-point range and IUP made 12 3-pointers.

Inside the First Half
McGrew forced an early Crimson Hawk timeout after burying a triple with 14:25 left in the first half as the Bobcats trailed 12-11. Moran became unconscious from beyond the arc by making three consecutive 3-pointers as his third straight put Wesleyan ahead 20-15 at the 11:34 mark of the first half. 

With 4:54 to go in the first half, Hibbitt dialed up a three ball to help WVWC regain the lead, 31-30. Indiana (Pa.) closed the first half on a 15-1 run for a 45-32 halftime advantage.

Inside the Second Half
The Bobcats kept within striking distance early on in the second half. Slone settled in by burying a pair of long range shots before Hibbitt sank a jump shot as Wesleyan trailed 56-47 with 13:39 to play. A mid-range jumper from Slone cut the deficit to 61-54 with 11:06 left in the second half. 

IUP closed out the game on a 22-4 run over the last 8:47 of regulation.

Up Next
WVWC men’s basketball continues the IRMC/Hilton Garden Inn Classic against Pitt-Johnstown on Saturday at 5:15 p.m.

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