Wheeling Jesuit falls to Fairmont State in NCAA Div. II Atlantic Regional final
FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The charging Cardinals ran out of time to complete its comeback Tuesday night. Wheeling Jesuit fought to the end, but top-seeded Fairmont State held on for the 86-80 win and NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Men's Basketball crown.
The Cardinals (25-8) rallied to within five points, 65-60, with 5:43 left after a Haywood Highsmith 3-pointer and Jarin Hilson steal and layup. After a home timeout, the Fairmont State (32-2) scored the next nine points, but WJU was not done. The Cardinals pushed the issue again in the final minute and made it a six-point contest on a Kyle Ritz inside layup, 80-74, at 45.9 seconds. Highsmith grabbed the offensive rebound and laid it back in for a four-point contest, 84-80, at seven ticks, but WJU ran out of time, but not effort.
"It is bittersweet. At some point, I will look back and realize how good of a season it was, but we also didn't accomplish the goal we set out for (to reach)," explained WJU head coach Danny Sancomb. "I thought if we stay close and hang around, we would have a chance. We were close and just couldn't get over the hump tonight."
WJU put four players in double figures led by All-Regional selection Moseh with 18 points to go with four rebounds and five assists.
Ritz added 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting and clutched 10 rebounds for his final double-double.
In the backcourt, Preston Boswell and Hilson combined for 25 points (13 and 12 points).
The other WJU All-Regional player Highsmith contributed nine points and seven rebounds. The forward was limited to only 15 minutes due to foul trouble the entire contest.
Looking over the final stat line, the Cardinals won the battle on the glass, 43-33, and shot better than the home club (46.9 to 43.9-percent). The Falcons, though, downed 11 of 32 from long range and sank 10 more free throws, while they only committed eight turnovers.
All-Regional Most Outstanding Player Matt Bingaya netted 23 points and eight rebounds. The FSU, other All-Regional pick Thomas Wimbush, led all scorers with 26 points, including 6 of 12 from 3-point land.
WJU finishes its season with the third 21-plus win season in a row, second Atlantic Regional selection and first Atlantic Regional Championship appearance.
Courtesy of Wheeling Jesuit Athletics