BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — An all-around team effort led to head coach Derek Sloan‘s first career victory as West Virginia Wesleyan (1-2) men’s basketball defeated Seton Hill (0-3), 85-79 on Monday inside Rockefeller Center.
Leaders for WVWC
Jayden Hibbitt led the Bobcats in scoring for the third consecutive game with 21 points while also pulling down eight rebounds. Joseph Keenan made five shots from beyond the arc to finish with 15 points.
Tommie Pope scored 11 points, ripped down six rebounds and distributed three assists. Braeden McGrew delivered 13 points and dished out three assists. Shawn Moran contributed 12 points including 10 in the second half.
Leaders for Seton Hill
Drew Green scored a game-high 30 points after going 17-for-19 from the free throw line. Samuel Tabe (15 points) and Marrek Paola (11 points) also scored in double figures for the Griffins.
Wesleyan shot 54.7 percent from the field (29-for-53) including 12-for-25 from 3-point range. The Bobcats outrebounded Seton Hill by a 33-27 margin. The score was tied seven times and there were nine lead changes.
Inside the First Half
Nearly seven minutes into the first half, McGrew drained a transition wing triple to put WVWC ahead 14-11.
Both teams traded buckets including when Anthony Craven Jr. connected on a right corner trey to tie the game at 24-24 with 6:29 remaining in the first half. A little over a minute later, Pope sank an outside shot from the Mountain East Conference opener.
Hibbitt scored the last nine points of the first half for the Bobcats including a trifecta off of a steal by Pope with 43 seconds left for a 40-31 advantage. WVWC led 42-36 at the halftime break.
Inside the Second Half
The Bobcats scored the first six points of the second half to forced a Seton Hill timeout at the 17:36 mark following back-to-back baskets by Pope.
Wesleyan built its largest lead of the game (67-49) when Moran connected on a fadeaway jumper nearly halfway through the second half with 10:19 remaining. The Griffins responded with a 20-4 run to cut the deficit to 71-69 with 3:08 to play in regulation.
Moran answered on WVWC’s next possession to push his team ahead 74-69 before burying another 3-pointer after a fantastic step back move for a 77-69 lead with 1:25 left ticking. The Bobcats clinched the 85-79 victory from the charity stripe during the final minute.
WVWC men’s basketball welcomes Frostburg State to the Rockefeller Center for its MEC opener on Saturday at 4 p.m.