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February 3, 2013

COLUMN: FSU men in prime position

FAIRMONT — While Jerrod Calhoun won’t ever admit to being satisfied with how Fairmont State’s men’s hoops season has gone — coaches, especially ones with his vision, aren’t exactly poster boys for complacency — he has to like the spot the Falcons are in.

No, FSU isn’t perched atop the West Virginia Intercollegiate Conference standings — that would be 20-1, No. 3-ranked West Liberty. But the Falcons have seemingly found their groove in Calhoun’s first year in charge, winning 10 of their past 11 games.

Saturday afternoon brought more of the same, as the team won its fifth straight with a 78-67 road victory at West Virginian Wesleyan.

If anything, the hallmarks of this current run have been shooting and defense.

In all but one of the past five games, FSU has shot 50 percent or better from the floor, including a scorching 55.2 percent in Thursday’s huge home win against Charleston.

 And on the glass the Falcons are making gains, too, having won or tied the rebounding battle in each of the last three times out. They clearly had the upper hand on Saturday — pulling down 39 boards to Wesleyan’s 27, and adding 16 on the offensive end.

But maybe the best part in all this? FSU is still learning to play together.

After bringing in transfers and freshmen and a whole new coaching staff, it’s taken time and who knows how many odd hours in the gym to reach this point. Imagine where the Falcons could be with a few more weeks of fine-tuning — which, perhaps coincidentally, is about the same time the conference tournament gets under way.

Good timing indeed.

o o o o o o

Speaking of time, now is as good as one as ever to check out the Falcons in person. They’re quick, skilled, gritty and probably the deepest and most talented in maroon since the 1997-98 Elite Eight squad.

And with five of seven contests home at Joe Retton Arena to close the regular season — starting with Monday’s women’s-men’s doubleheader with Wheeling Jesuit at 5:30 p.m. — this is a team worth watching, whether someone’s giving out free T-shirts or not.

Email Nick Cammuso at ncammuso@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter@NickCammusoTWV.

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