The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 6, 2012

Calhoun, new faces making progress

FAIRMONT — In a year filled with sky-high expectations, the 2012-13 campaign has been at times a bumpy flight for Fairmont State’s men’s basketball team.

The Falcons began their first season under head coach Jerrod Calhoun in expected fashion, rolling past Ohio-Eastern before a big Joe Retton Arena crowd in the opener and following that up with a huge road win at Virginia State.

But instead of keeping the train moving, FSU slid off the rails in back-to-back home losses against WVU Tech and Shepherd late last month. In both instances, the Falcons let close (and winnable) games slip away from them late in the second half.

But after that shaky stretch, FSU has rebounded and won two straight and now is 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the WVIAC.

Since Calhoun’s hiring from West Virginia University in the spring, the Falcons have brought in loads of new talent and a buzz to the men’s hoops program, but it has led to some learning moments on the court.

“The good thing is it’s not football where you only have 10 games, but the reality is we're putting ourselves in a bigger hole every time we lose,” Calhoun said after the Shepherd loss. “I think four teams from our conference went to the NCAA Tournament last year and all four of those teams had 20-plus wins. Each game you lose it’s a step away from you.

“I told the guys afterwards when I was at Walsh and we won the (2005 NAIA) national championship, we were 7-5 at one point in the season believe it or not and we ended up winning 20 some games in a row to win the championship, so we're certainly not giving up, but we’re certainly disappointed that we continue to give up 80 or 90 points at home. It seems like the whole conference everybody lets everybody score, and I thought we would be different, but evidently we're not. We’ve got to get back to the drawing board and hopefully we can get better defensively.”

The Falcons have made some strides in that department, especially facing a Bluefield team that’s lost 30 games in a row. They forced 17 turnovers and held the Blues to a 33.9 percent shooting night, including a 29.4 percent mark from the field after the break.

In the previous three games, FSU had given up 87, 93 and 81 points, respectively.

“We’ve got a group of guys this year who are all basically new and learning to play with one another,” FSU senior Isaiah Hill, one of the Falcons’ many new additions, said after Saturday’s win over Bluefield State. “We’re coming along and we’re starting to get this defense thing down, which is what the coaches are really stressing to us.”

Scoring, though, hasn’t been a problem for the Falcons.

They’re putting up nearly 90 points per contest, have five players in double figures and are shooting well as a team (47.9 percent on field goals, 71.7 percent on free throws).

Despite missing two games, junior college transfer Brendan Cooper leads the way with 21.3 points. The junior forward has added 9.0 rebounds per game and ranks third on FSU in assists.

Hill, a 6-9 senior center and another newcomer, is second on the squad in both scoring (14.5) and rebounding (8.3). Of his team-leading 50 boards, 21 have come on the offensive end. He’s also picked up his scoring of late, with 44 points over the past two games.

Stith, a transfer from Division I St. John’s, averages 14.3 points and leads FSU in assists (22) and steals (10). He’s also shooting 56.6 percent from the field, just percentage points from Cooper for the team lead.

Another senior, all-conference selection Isaac Thornton, is averaging 13.6 points per game, 4.2 rebounds and has added 18 assists. True freshman Stevie Browning had a hot start to his Falcon career and now sits at 10.7 points per game, while Bluefield State transfer Chase Morgan has provided an offensive spark whether in the starting lineup or on the bench and averages 9.5 points.

Three others — Tommy Scales, Andrew Gunnoe and former Fairmont Senior star Ty Garrison — have seen action in every game this season.

The Falcons don't return to action until next Saturday when they visit Charleston. UC (3-1, 0-1 in league) was picked to finish second in the league’s preseason men’s poll, just ahead of FSU.

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

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Morgan Hoke -ts.jpg Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS

    Last week East Fairmont’s girls’ tennis team beat Fairmont Senior, 4-3.
    Wednesday at Fairmont State University, the Polar Bears returned the favor with a 5-2 win over their cross-town rival.
    Alissa Link won No. 1 singles, 8-4. Morgan Hoke won No. 3 singles, 9-7. And Avery Towns won No. 4 singles, 8-5, for the Polar Bears.

    April 24, 2014 8 Photos

  • Falcons set for spring game

    Football is back … well, kind of.
    Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • Hillberry commits to Wesleyan

    Last year Emma Harrison and Kaitlyn Conaway teamed up with Alexis Hillberry to win several relay medals at the state track meet.
    Though the two West Virginia Wesleyan runners are now in college, they helped to pass the baton to Hillberry Wednesday when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join her former teammates on the Bobcats’ track team.

    April 24, 2014

  • O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall

    Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.

    April 24, 2014

  • North, East softball earn blowout wins

    The North Marion softball team was at it again Wednesday night.
    Mattie Polling tripled and singled, starting pitcher Chelsi Latocha doubled and gave up just one hit as the Huskies rolled to another 3-inning mercy-rule victory over Lewis County, 18-1.

    April 24, 2014

  • Simon, Bruce lead Reds past Bucs, 5-2

    Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
    Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pens squander lead, fall to Columbus

    Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

    April 24, 2014

  • FSHS #32, 29-BU #15-TS.jpg Cousins Sansalone, Craig lead Polar Bears past B-U: PHOTOS

    They say you don’t mess with family. Buckhannon-Upshur found that one out the hard way.

    April 23, 2014 7 Photos

  • Gabbi Mascaro Signing -md.jpg Mascaro signs with FSU

    Gabi Mascaro is staying in Fairmont.
    After considering several out-of-state colleges, the Fairmont Senior soccer standout signed her National Letter of Intent Tuesday to continue her career at Fairmont State University, an upstart program which will play its first games in 2015.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos