Oh, what difference a week can make.
When Fairmont State (15-6) was set to take on Glenville State (12-8) last week, both teams were about as deadlocked as two teams could be.
Fairmont State sat a half game behind the Pioneers in the Mountain East Conference standings, with just one win separating the two teams, which had each lost five games in the conference.
Now, though, the Falcons come into tonight’s 7:30 p.m. matchup promoting a whiteout against the Pioneers at Joe Retton Arena riding a four-game winning streak to its counterpart’s two-game losing streak.
The streak has hoisted the Falcons into third place in the MEC, putting space between themselves and Glenville that wasn’t there a mere week ago.
“With our team being young, we’re finding ways to win,” Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun said of this past week’s action.
Calhoun’s Falcons have found ways to come from behind on two occasions this past week, picking up wins over Urbana and Notre Dame College at home. The second-year head coach said that from the beginning of the season until now, the team has found more ways to win games more decisively on the road as opposed to playing with energy at home.
“It seems we’ve been a better road team lately,” Calhoun explained. “These last two games (at home) have been very, very close. But any time you can play in close games and win, it gives your team experience.”
With the two wins, the Falcons have proved that they are still feeling each other out, a direct result, Calhoun said, of the injuries his team faced at the beginning of the season.
“The one frustrating thing is we haven’t had a full team,” Calhoun said. “It’s hard to practice when you don’t have guys out there.”
Senior swingman Brendan Cooper, who was out most of the season with a hand injury, has been inserted back in the lineup and has impacted quite a bit. Though he has been coming off of the bench, the 6-foot-7 playmaker has been learning to play better with those who have taken over in his absence. That key player being Thomas Wimbush.
While Cooper was out, Wimbush and sophomore guard Stevie Browning carried the load. But Saturday night when Browning scored a season-low four points, it was Wimbush and Cooper who made a connection and got the job done in a 78-74 win over Notre Dame College.
“The two wing players, Thomas and Coop, are learning to play with each other,” said Calhoun of the duo’s performance, which saw them score 45 of the team’s 48 points Saturday night.
Those two, and Browning, will need to keep their strong play going if the Falcons want to overcome three strong opponents for the week, starting with Glenville tonight.
Calhoun knows that this week could seal the deal on his team’s season or give them hope for March.
“This is pretty much a make-or-break week for us,” he said. “It’s a crucial two weeks if we want to make it to the NCAAs with Glenville, then traveling to Jesuit and hosting West Lib. Our guys know how big this is.”
With just seven games left in the season, every win is crucial.
NOTES: Tonight’s game is set to be a whiteout. Coaches and officials encourage FSU fans to wear white to create a strong atmosphere ... The Lady Falcons (12-6) will also host Glenville State (20-2), which is ranked 10th in the nation, tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Joe Retton Arena ... Glenville’s team features two Marion County natives in Paige Tuttle and Jessica Parsons ... Tuttle, a sophomore, averages 3.2 points per game while Parsons, a senior, averages 5.3 points per game but leads the team in minutes, averaging 21.0 minutes per contest ... Parsons suffered a knee injury in high school before playing at Fairmont State for two years and will return to Fairmont for the last time in her collegiate career tonight.
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.
Oh, what difference a week can make.
- Fairmont State Sports
FSU’s rally falls short against ’Toppers
Twenty minutes into Saturday night’s Mountain East Conference semifinal-round showdown between top-seeded and No. 3 ranked West Liberty and fourth-seeded Fairmont State here at the Charleston Civic Center the Falcons looked down and out.
Cooper leads FSU past Bobcats, 70-62
Brendan Cooper played liked a first-team all-league selection even though he strangely wasn't, and Chase Morgan did what he does best in the game's final 1:18 – hit shots.
The result was a 70-62 Fairmont State victory over fifth-seeded West Virginia Wesleyan Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the Mountain East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
West Liberty, Glenville, Charleston advance to MEC semi-final
Charleston out-lasted Wheeling Jesuit, 91-85, in overtime in the first quarterfinal of the Mountain East Conference Tournament presented by GoMart on Friday afternoon.
Andre Harris, who finished with a game-high 22 points, picked up a steal and then converted a traditional three-point play to put Wheeling Jesuit up 76-73 with :21 seconds left.
Cold-shooting Lady Falcons fall to State
In its biggest game of the season to date Fairmont State suffered its worst performance.
Fifth-seeded FSU shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field (18-of-61), including a dismal 8-of-33 showing (24.2 percent) in the second half and as a result fell, 71-59, to fourth-seeded West Virginia State in the quarterfinals of the first Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament here Thursday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
Falcons hope for tournament run
Since day one, making another post-season run has been at the top of Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun’s mind.
Last season the Falcons went three-for-four in the WVIAC Tournament, falling to West Liberty in the tournament’s final game. The strong run, though, propelled the Falcons into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
FSU women roll in MEC Tourney opener
Fifth-seeded Fairmont State didn't waste any time Tuesday night punching its ticket for Charleston and earning a berth in the Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center.
Wimbush named MEC Freshman of the Year
Thomas Wimbush has been named Mountain East Conference Freshman of the Year, as announced by the league office this afternoon. Wimbush also joined teammates Stevie Browning and Brendan Cooper on the MEC second team.
FSU women to open MEC Tournament
When Fairmont State’s women’s basketball team toppled Shepherd, 103-80, Saturday, coach Steve McDonald didn’t know who his team would face.
Falcons edge Shepherd, earn first-round bye: PHOTOS
The scenario Saturday afternoon on Senior Day for Fairmont State's men's basketball team in its regular-season finale against visiting Shepherd University was pretty simple.
Win and receive an automatic first-round bye in the upcoming Mountain East Conference Basketball Tournament. Lose and host a first-round game Tuesday night at the Joe Retton Arena.
Innocent, Garrett star as Lady Falcons roll: PHOTOS
Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the Joe Retton Arena Fairmont State senior Brianna Innocent was anything but that against visiting Shepherd University.
The 6-foot-1 backup center came off the bench and torched the Lady Rams in the regular-season finale for 27 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to help lead FSU to a 103-80 victory.
- More Fairmont State Sports Headlines
- FSU’s rally falls short against ’Toppers