By Steve Keenan
WVU Tech built up a big early lead and withstood a late push from Washington Adventist University Thursday to secure a 79-73 men’s basketball victory.
The Shock had defeated Tech 78-72 earlier in the season.
“We were really ready,” said Tech coach Bob Williams, whose team claimed its fourth straight victory and improved to 12-9. “It was payback week, since they beat us earlier.
“Our guys were waiting.”
At the Baisi Athletic Center, the USCAA No. 8 Golden Bears sprinted to a 19-2 lead against WAU, the No. 2 team in the USCAA coaches poll. Tech led 44-32 at halftime, and the Bears were still comfortably ahead, 71-54, on a Stephen Coles putback with about 5:00 to play.
But, as has happened too often for Williams’ liking, his charges faltered down the stretch.
“We’ve had a hard time all season putting people away,” he said. “It gets a little antsy and makes me nervous.”
Sparked by Elliott Meredith’s eight points, including a 3-pointer, the Shock went on a 10-0 spurt to pull to within 71-64 with 3:30 left. They eventually crept to within four, 75-71, on an Anthony Berry free throw. However, Tech got a deuce from Leon Cooper Jr. and two free throws from Coles, the latter with 19 seconds left, for a 79-71 cushion.
“That’s a pretty good team,” Williams said of WAU, which played without two starters. “They started trapping, which bothered us.
“We played well enough throughout the course of the game to win.”
Coles led three Tech players in double figures with a game-high 24 points, in addition to pulling down 18 rebounds and registering four assists. Cooper tacked on 13 points, pulled down five boards and handed out a game-high five assists. Ra’Shaud Kincaid scored 11 points and had six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Armond Perez had nine points and four rebounds, Jaren Marino scored eight points and Eddie Gordon had six.
Berry collected a double-double for Washington Adventist (12-7) with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Meredith scored 14.
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