The Times West Virginian

Sports

February 20, 2014

FSU hits the road to play Concord

FAIRMONT — Coming into Saturday’s contest with West Liberty, the Fairmont State men’s basketball team had played back-to-back one-possession contests against Glenville State and Wheeling Jesuit.

No doubt entertaining games for the fans. Not so much for the Falcons, who lost both.

So there the Falcons sat, in a two-game slide, preparing to face the Hilltoppers, who were at the time ranked No. 3 in the country. Perhaps another close game was to be expected?

“Forget close games,” Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “We need a win.”

The second-year coach repeated the battle cry again for emphasis: “We need a win!”

The Falcons responded by turning in one of their most complete performances of the season to upset the Hilltoppers. And, it wasn’t even all that close, with Fairmont State controlling the second half before pulling away, 93-81.

So how did Calhoun celebrate what senior Brendan Cooper called his most memorable game at Fairmont State?

He got into a car and drove nine hours to recruit.

“It’s on to the next game,” Calhoun said Saturday. “In college athletics, you don’t have time to celebrate.”

Today it’s time for that next game when the Falcons travel to Concord University. The men’s game tips off at 7:30 p.m. after the women’s game at 5:30 p.m.

The Falcons (16-8, 11-7 Mountain East Conference) enter the game ranked eighth in the Atlantic Region, as announced on Tuesday. Winning down the stretch will be critical for the Falcons to hang on to that ranking and earn an invitation to the NCAA Division II tournament.

That means they can’t overlook Concord (8-16, 5-13 MEC), an MEC bottom-feeder that is 11th out of 12 teams in the conference.

Calhoun’s message to the team before Saturday’s game holds just as true today as it did several days ago.

“I told the guys we lose, we’re done,” Calhoun said Saturday. “We’ve got four games left. I’m looking at it as we need to win all four.”

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