The Times West Virginian

Duane Cochrane

February 7, 2014

FSU wipes out late 15-point deficit to beat Urbana: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — For anyone who left Fairmont State’s basketball game with visiting Urbana University Thursday night at the Joe Retton Arena shame on you.

And there were plenty of people who did.

However, it’s kind of hard to blame them. After all, with just 8:46 remaining the Falcons, who are locked in a fierce battle for second place in the 12-team Mountain East Conference with a number of other schools, were bumbling, stumbling and trailing the winless and last-place Blue Knights by 15 points.

Then it happened. Fairmont awoke from its slumber, turned up its intensity, rattled Urbana and outscored the Blue Knights 31-11 to eke out a desperately-needed 80-75 victory.

“We came out flat and we can’t have letdowns like that, especially at this crucial point in the season,” said Fairmont’s Stevie Browning, who helped key the incredible comeback win with 28 points, 24 of which came in the second half including a huge 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining which gave FSU the lead for good at 76-73. “We’ve got to come out every game ready to go and know that every team is capable of beating us on any given night.

“It was disappointing at first, but I’m proud of the way we battled back. We got key stops tonight at crucial times that we absolutely had to have.”

Trailing 73-65 with 3:02 left to play, FSU outscored the Blue Knights 15-2 the rest of the way to emerge victorious and run its record to 14-6 overall and to 9-5 in the MEC. Urbana, which lost for the 30th time in 31 games dating back to last season, fell to 0-20 overall and to 0-16 in the league.

“I thought Urbana was a dangerous team coming in here watching them on tape,” said Falcon coach Jerrod Calhoun, who was frustrated for much of the game because of his team’s apathetic play. “They’ve been in every game. They were ready to go and they did a great job of prepping for this one. We, on the other hand, were very lethargic.

“The reality of the situation is we’re a very young basketball team which starts four freshmen and one sophomore. Every night for us is going to be a battle no matter who we’re playing. Give them credit, though, because they were ready to play and they made shots. We tried to press them, we tried to zone them, we tried to man them and in the end we really just outscored them. That’s not the staple of this program. Our staple is playing tough defense.”

Thursday night Fairmont’s defense looked a bit more like Swiss cheese – full of holes and through the holes came Urbana’s Danny Goins and Mike Newton who attacked the rim and got close, easy buckets to help the visitors build their big lead. Goins finished with 21 points, while Newton added 11, nine of which came in the second half.

Down the stretch, however, those driving lanes closed and shots that the Blue Knights consistently connected on early didn’t fall.

“Down the stretch we got key stops when we needed them,” said FSU freshman center Trevor Andrews-Evans, who finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. “It’s a shame it had to come to that and that we didn’t come out with a better effort from the start, but all we wanted at the end was to get the win and we found a way to get it.”

Falcon freshman guard Caleb Davis agrees. Davis, who finished with 10 points and five assists, followed up his own miss with a one-handed putback basket with 1:39 left to play which tied the game at 73.

“We knew if we had lost this game our season and chances of making the tournament would’ve been in serious jeopardy,” said Davis. “Down the stretch we knew we really had to step it up and grind it out.

“On that game-tying basket their man basically took a play off and I got the rebound and put it back in. At the time, I really didn’t think anything about it. I was more concerned with getting back and playing defense because I knew it wasn’t over.”

After Newton missed a driving layup attempt with 1:14 left to play, Browning connected on his 3-pointer with 47 seconds left to give the Falcons the lead for good at 76-73. FSU then sealed the victory with four free throws from Morgan and Browning in the game’s final 12 seconds.

Fairmont will be back in action Saturday afternoon when it hosts a hot Notre Dame College team which has won three of its last four games, including a victory over then-No. 1 ranked West Liberty last week. Tip off time for Saturday’s contest is 4 p.m. at the Joe Retton Arena.

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Duane Cochrane
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