Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

WVSU Hoops Playing for Pride, UC Chasing First-Round Bye

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

WVSU Hoops Playing for Pride, UC Chasing First-Round Bye

Article excerpt

By Michael Carvelli Staff writer

As it heads into the final two games of the regular season, the West Virginia State men's basketball team finds itself in a tough position. The Yellow Jackets are three games out of 10th place in the Mountain East Conference and, therefore, are mathematically eliminated from being able to earn a spot in the conference tournament. But there's still plenty on the line for them to play for.

"It's all about playing for pride right now, West Virginia State coach Bryan Poore said. "We need to just keep going out there and putting forth our best effort and just see what we can do and keep trying to build for next year.

WVSU (6-20, 3-17 Mountain East) has a core of talented young players it has been able to thrust into early leadership roles - something that has led to some bumps in the road this season but could pay off later on. That includes Ernest Jenkins, the freshman guard who has scored in double figures in all but two games this season for the Yellow Jackets.

He'll become the first freshman to lead West Virginia State in scoring in 50 years - since Dave Hamilton did it during the 1966-67 season.

"We've had some good players to come through here and have had a lot of good freshmen, so that says a lot about him and the way he's stepped up, Poore said. "That puts Ernie in some pretty good company.

The Yellow Jackets will host UVa-Wise at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Walker Convocation Center.

The Cavaliers (7-19, 5-15 Mountain East) have struggled a bit as of late, dropping three straight since upsetting then-No. 18 Wheeling Jesuit. That recent slide has dropped them down to 11th in the conference and puts them in need of a big final week to punch their ticket to Charleston for the conference tournament.

"It seems like a year ago we played them the first time and we were both completely different teams then, Poore said. …

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