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UVa-Wise picks up pace in second half to defeat Alice Lloyd

Kevin Mays • Nov 16, 2018 at 12:55 AM

WISE — Virginia-Wise started sluggishly but finished with a flurry Thursday to win its first game on its home floor.

The Cavaliers (2-1) scored the first eight points of the second half and outscored Alice Lloyd 44-30 in the final frame to take a 79-73 non-conference win at the Prior Convocation Center.

IMPROVING THE SHOT

Virginia-Wise shot only 30.3 percent (10-for-33) and a woeful 1-for-13 (7.7 percent) in the first half.

Alice Lloyd (2-4) took advantage of the Cavs’ poor shooting in the first 20 minutes to build a 43-35 halftime lead.

The Cavaliers opened up the second half with a quicker tempo and two 3-point shots from Briggs Parris to switch the momentum.

“We got better looks,” said Virginia-Wise coach Blake Mellinger. “Really the majority of the first half the ball was sticking a lot and there was a lot of one-on-one and we were getting a lot of contested shots. In the second half, I thought we did a better job of moving the ball and create driving lanes. When we would drive, we would get the ball in the paint, and the defense would collapse and we were getting those kickout 3s and that what we want.”

The two treys from Parris helped the freshman score 12 points in the contest.

“I struggled in the first half. They were defending me tight. I just had to see a couple go in,” said Parris. “Coach had confidence in me. My teammates had confidence in me to knock it down. I finally got some good looks and I was able to knock them down.”

CAREER NIGHT

Parris was one of five Cavaliers to score in double figures.

Michal Seals led all Virginia-Wise scorers with 21 points, while Tajh Eason had a career-high double-double. He scored 16 points and finished with 15 rebounds. Both were the best for Eason in his college career.

Mellinger said Eason has improved with each game. The junior from Newport News said he’s thankful to have the opportunity to show how he can contribute for the Cavaliers.

“I wouldn’t say I’m at my prime, but it’s definitely a blessing. Going from just a walk-on to being a scholarship player, I’ve definitely had to work hard. Just consistently staying in the gym,” said Eason. “Because I know how well I can play. I definitely just had to prove it to the coaches. And definitely with injuries setting me back, I had to make that extra push. So, it’s definitely a blessing.”

Eric Okenchi scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds for Virginia-Wise, while Cameron Whiteside added 12.

Blake Smith led Alice Lloyd with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Chance Cornett finished with 14 points and Noah Young had 10 for the Eagles.

Alice Lloyd freshman Colyn Sturgill, an Eastside graduate, scored six points in 21 minutes of playing time.

MAKING RUNS

After Virginia-Wise opened up the second half with an 8-0 run, the two teams kept things close.

The Cavaliers broke a 56-56 tie with a 7-0 run over a 1:30 period to build a seven-point cushion with 10:03 left.

Virginia-Wise never trailed from that point.

UP NEXT

The Cavaliers open play in the Mountain East Conference Saturday with a home game against Urbana before hosting MEC foe Notre Dame College on Monday.

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