By Nick Cammuso
Times West Virginian
For Fairmont State, the West Virginia Conference season begins tonight at home versus Shepherd and both basketball teams are looking for a needed bounce-back.
The Lady Falcons, picked to finish first in the league’s preseason poll, are 1-2 after an early-season run versus PSAC teams. FSU’s men, meanwhile, sit at 2-1 and will try to wash away the stench of an 87-83 home loss to WVU Tech on Friday.
And while the women’s current two-game skid isn’t entirely surprising — they’ve played a pair of traditionally strong Division II Pennsylvania programs in IUP and Cal — the men’s defeat to the NAIA Golden Bears was something of a shock to the system.
That’s what happens when you open the season with a new coach, new roster, new locker room, new uniforms and a new vibe around campus.
Things have changed, so have the expectations, and first-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun knows it.
“I’ve got two guys hurt (in) Brendan Cooper and Ke’Chaun Lewis but that’s no excuse. We went down and beat a very good Virginia State team and basically took a game off tonight,” he said after Friday’s loss. “When that happens you’re going to lose. We’ve got to get better and we’ve got to get better fast if we’re going to try to make the NCAA Tournament. You can’t lose games like this early in the year. We’re going to try to get it fixed real quick.
“I hope our guys learned a lesson tonight, and if they didn’t it’s going to be a long year for us,” Calhoun said. “We need to grow up quickly. It doesn’t matter how many new guys we have. We can’t take plays off and we took too many off tonight.”
On Friday, Tech trailed by three in the early going, but followed with a 24-6 run and led by one at the half, 34-33.