WJU men look sharp in victory
WHEELING — The Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals are averaging 83 points a game this season.
But, beware because, according head coach Danny Sancomb, they’re just starting to hit their stride offensively.
They showed that Wednesday evening inside the Alma Grace McDonough Center. Jesuit shot 50 percent from the field, used an impressive run in the first half and then held Notre Dame College at bay in the second half to post a 105-86 victory.
“It always helps when you make shots, but I thought we were patient against their zone, cut well and shot it well,” Sancomb said.
With the season series with the Falcons complete, the Cardinals can officially begin preparations for what’s expected to be a wild atmosphere Saturday afternoon when the nation’s No. 1 ranked Division II team, West Liberty, comes calling with its undefeated record.
“It’s a real big game,” Sancomb said. “Obviously, number one team in the country, first play in our league. Our guys will be up for it.”
Despite the county rival Hilltoppers up next, Wheeling Jesuit had no problem staying focused on the task at hand.
“Our guys are so in tune with what we do,” Sancomb said. “We know we lift on Monday, we’re going to practice for an hour-and-a-half (Thursday) and Friday. We’re just real methodical about what we do, regardless of who we’re playing. Getting guys motivated to play on Saturday won’t take a lot of work on our end.”
Before he officially shifted gears to to the Hilltoppers, Sancomb and the Cardinals took care of their business. And it involved an efficient offensive performance, which was needed.
Sancomb didn’t need to look long at the stat sheet to know that one of the biggest keys in the game for his team’s success was 28 assists on 35 field goals. That type of play was needed, especially when Notre Dame, which is now 4-13 and 2-9 inside the MEC, cashed 17-of-34 from behind the 3-point line.
“Very rarely do you win a game when a team shoots like that from 3,” Sancomb stressed. “They shoot the ball very, very well and you give them good looks, they knock them down. They shot the ball very well in both games we’ve played them.”
It was raining 3-pointers for a few-minute stretch in the first half on both ends of the floor, actually. The game was tied at 41. Then former Magnolia standout Preston Boswell got hot.
Boswell scored 10 of his 22 points in a 20-4 spurt to close the first half and put the Cardinals on top, 61-45 at the break.
All told, Jesuit hit 10 triples in the first half, while the Falcons knocked down nine. Drake Goddard and Boswell each hit four.
“We took what the defense gave us and shot the ball with a lot of confidence,” Sancomb said. “Preston, obviously, does what he does. He did a real good job.”
In the second half, neither team mounted a true run. Notre Dame College, which is based in suburban Cleveland, got as close as 12 on three different occassions. Normally, anytime it felt like a run may be coming for the Falcons, senior Pat Moseh had an answer. And if he didn’t, Haywood Highsmith did.
The Cardinals senior duo combined for 22 points in the second half. Moseh turned in an impressive night’s work. He finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Highsmith, meanwhile, added 17 points, 10 boards and five assists. Goddard closed with 16, while Jeremiah Wilson added 13 points and seven rebounds.
“Pat and Haywood are really good players and they were very active again,” Sancomb said. “Jeremiah Wilson has been really good for us this year.”
Notre Dame College was led by Drew Scarberry’s 28 points. He knocked home eight bonus goals.