Times West Virginian
One valuable lesson first-year Fairmont State men’s basketball coach Jerrod Calhoun has tried to instill in his team this season is to be successful at a high level you’ve got to play 40 minutes of ball every single night.
Saturday afternoon here at the Snyder Activities Center against struggling Ohio Valley University, Calhoun’s Falcons took their coach’s message to heart and took care of business early to cruise to an impressive 84-54 victory over the Fighting Scots.
For the first five minutes Saturday’s game was just that — a game. Then, however, it quickly turned into a rout. Fairmont turned a 7-7 game into a 32-7 contest with 25 unanswered points over the course of just 7:17. The Falcons finished the half by outscoring OVU 36-6 during the final 15 minutes to take a commanding 43-13 lead into the halftime locker room.
“I think we learned from our last game against Wheeling that we’ve got to get out of the gates early and be ready to play,” said Calhoun, who watched his team improve to 7-3 overall and to 5-1 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. “We were very, very focused today. We learned from Wednesday night and I think we’re understanding that every game we play is going to be bigger and bigger. When you’re trying to win a championship you’ve got to take care of business and be ready to play 40 minutes of basketball every night.”
Luckily for the Falcons they learned their lesson in a victory. This past Wednesday Fairmont fell behind Wheeling Jesuit by 13 at the half, but rallied with a strong second-half performance to record a 88-81 win.
Saturday, because of Fairmont’s impressive showing in the first half, the going was a lot easier.
The Falcons maintained their 30-point halftime advantage despite playing 15 different players and still won by 30. No less than 14 of the 15 players who saw action in the game for FSU scored.
Seven different Falcons scored on the 25-0 spurt which allowed Fairmont to take control of the game for good but it was true freshman guard Ke’Chaun Lewis who was the main catalyst for the run. Lewis scored all eight of his points in a span of just over three minutes during the game-changing burst.
The balanced Falcons were led by Chase Morgan, who finished with 14 points in just 15 minutes of action and Isaac Thornton, who scored 13 points despite playing just 22 minutes.
Lewis and fellow freshman Tommy Scales both ended up with eight points, Malik Stith added seven and Rudy Roberts finished with six.
“Everybody got in tonight which was nice,” said Calhoun. “Our guys all work hard and it’s good to see them rewarded.
“Our team is so into winning that I think we’re a very unselfish team. The more we’re together the closer this team is becoming. The guys are really starting to jell with one another both on and off of the court. These last few weeks we’ve been on break so it’s been all about basketball for us and I think we’re getting a lot better because of that.”
Ohio Valley, which fell to 2-10 overall and to 1-5 in the WVIAC, was led by Ashton Brown’s 18 points and Osvaldas Gaizauskas’ 13 points and game-high 11 rebounds. All 18 of Brown’s points came in the second half.
Fairmont State will be back in action Monday when it returns home to the Joe Retton Arena to host Seton Hill (Pa.) University in a 6 p.m. game. That game was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. but was moved up so as not to conflict with the BCS National Championship football game between Notre Dame and Alabama.
Monday’s home game will be the first for FSU’s men since Dec. 1.