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Injury-prone Cavs suffer SAC sweep at hands of Bears

Kevin Mays • Jan 16, 2020 at 12:49 AM

WISE — No one can blame the Virginia-Wise basketball teams if they feel like they’ve been in a seasonlong endurance test. Injuries have decimated both the men’s and women’s squads at the first-year South Atlantic Conference school.

Women’s coach Jamie Cluesman played a total of six players in Wednesday’s 68-64 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne at the Prior Convocation Center.

“Fatigue is going to be a factor until we get some healthy players back,” said Cluesman, whose team endured a fourth-quarter slump against the Bears.

The Cavaliers shot 44.4% (28 of 63) from the floor for the game but hit only 6 of 18 shots (33.3%) in the fourth.

“I’m playing a six-man rotation and I’ve got two freshmen playing a 40-minute game. That goes to show that we’re short on the bench, but that’s the way the cards fall sometimes,” Cluesman said. “We have to go with what we got and I still believe in our kids. I still think that we have the right kids to still win some games and hopefully, it’s going to change for us on Saturday.”

Cluesman described the issue as day to day. Four players — junior Ada Stanley, sophomore Mackenzie King and freshmen Alyssa Padilla (Lebanon) and Makayla Richards (Bristol) — are on the injury list.

Despite only one player coming in off the bench, the Cavs (7-8, 3-6) managed to stay in the game.

The Bears (6-9, 4-5) led by just two points with under 15 seconds left to play and UVA Wise had its chances to tie the game, but two missed shots forced the Cavs to foul. Lenoir-Rhyne’s Madeline Hardy hit two free throws with four seconds left on the clock to seal the win.

Kennedy Weigt had 20 points for Lenoir-Rhyne. Hardy finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Kiara Moore had 10 points and 12 boards.

UVA Wise got 17 points from Nia Vanzant. Cynita Webb had a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds, Caitlyn Ross finished with 12 points and Kalee Johnson added 11.

UVA WISE MEN STRUGGLE

The injury-prone Cavs started Wednesday’s game with seven players in uniform but finished with just six in an 81-64 loss.

Sophomore Briggs Parris suffered a broken nose during contact in the first half. Later the same half, Drew Greene went down with a knee injury.

Parris returned in the second half wearing a face mask, leaving his team with six players to take the court and almost as many on the bench with injuries.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Cavs coach Blake Mellinger, who has led the program for seven years and was a longtime assistant at the school. “Us sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves isn’t going to help. So we’re going to come back in tomorrow and go back to work. Saturday we’ll have six. Maybe after Saturday we can get a couple guys back.”

R.J. Gunn scored 21 points to lead Lenoir-Rhyne (8-6, 4-5). Darius Simmons had 16 points and Mason Hawks finished with 12.

Cameron Whiteside scored a career-high 37 points for the Cavs (5-10, 1-8), and Yesid Mosquera-Perea added 10.

UP NEXT

UVA Wise is back at the Prior Center on Saturday when both the women and men welcome Coker for another SAC contest.