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Wheeling bounced by Charleston

WHEELING – It certainly hasn’t been the easiest journey for Wheeling men’s basketball coach Chris Richardson and his Cardinals squad. After sitting with a record of 2-8 mid-February, the Cardinals did find a small, late-season surge to qualify for the Mountain East Conference Tournaments.

After a victory at Alderson-Broaddue on Monday, Wheeling’s journey, came to an end in its home city.

Charleston extended its winning streak to 14 games as it cruised to a victory over the Cardinals, 86-49 in a Mountain East Conference Tournament quarterfinal matchup Friday evening at WesBanco Arena.

“They deserve all the accolades they’ve gotten. I thought they really enforced their will from the beginning on us (Friday),” Wheeling coach Chris Richardson said. “We kind of let our offense start affecting our defense and vice versa. All credit to them and Coach (Dwaine) for having them ready to play.”

The Golden Eagles, the MEC South Division led by as many as 41 and shot 55.2% from the field.

They will take on Fairmont State/West Virginia State Saturday in a MEC semifinal game with a tipoff time of 5 p.m.

“Season starts Jan. 7 and but the end of January, we spend 16-17 days in quarantine,” Ricahrdson said. “Really proud of the way our guys regrouped and continued to compete even without a ton of practice time and continued to get better. It sounds like coach speak, but we focused on getting better day by day by day. I think we saw the fruits of that labor over the last few weeks. But the most disappointing thing was that performance on both ends was not indicative of the growth we had as a basketball team over the past few weeks.”

The Cardinals kept the game close for the first 10 minutes, but a 3-pointer by Isaiah Gable put the Golden Eagles up by double figures for the rest of the contest.

Lamont McManus led the way for Charleston with 14 points while Seth O’Neal netted 12.

Gable Riley Heatherington and Shunta Wilson all supplied 11 points.

For the Cardinals, Jordan Reid had a team-high 14 points while Jarett Haines netted 11.

“In locker room, me, Jay Gentry and Jarett Haines stayed positive,” Reid said about the final three week stretch of the season. “I knew what it took to get here because we got here last year even though we fell short. With a new group and a couple of freshmen, you have to be positive. If you’re negative, they’ll be negative. I texted coach the (final week), ‘I’m not going to let you down. I’ll get the job done.’ That’s also the week I won MEC Player of the Week. I want to thank them for that award.”

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