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UVA Wise races by Ohio-Chillicothe on Kids Day

KEVIN MAYS • Dec 19, 2019 at 10:02 PM

WISE — Coming off a tough South Atlantic Conference loss to Tusculum Wednesday night, Virginia-Wise rebounded Thursday afternoon to take an 86-59 nonconference men’s basketball win over Ohio-Chillicothe at the UVA Wise Prior Center.

The Cavaliers (5-6) took the win on the school’s annual Kids Day, where some 2,100 students from Wise County schools were in attendance and songs like “Baby Shark” and “Whip It Nae Nae” were the order of the day.

UVA Wise did not disappoint the large crowd, despite some fatigue from Wednesday’s late game.

“Obviously, turning around and playing back-to-back with a noon game after having a really tough game last night is not the easiest thing to do. But we got out of here with a win heading into Christmas break. We get a few days off and everybody gets to see their families. So it’s good,” said UVA Wise coach Blake Mellinger.

UVA Wise redshirt sophomore Briggs Parris scored a team-high 16 points after scoring a career-high 36 at Tusculum.

Playing in front of the big crowd gave the game a different environment, Parris said.

“It was fun,” he said. “Obviously, we played last night in a very hard-fought game. So we were pretty tired.

“The kids gave us a lot of energy. We wanted to do it for them. So it was fun and hopefully there’s some memories they can take from it.”

Eric Okenchi matched Parris’ 16 points and had nine rebounds for the Cavaliers.

The Cavs also got 12 points and five assists from Cameron Whiteside, while Chance Sheffey added 10 points and Drew Greene finished with seven assists.

Gabri Chiossi had a game-high 22 points for Ohio-Chillicothe, while Aaron Benson scored 15 for the Hilltoppers.

The Cavs do not play again until Jan. 4, when they host Queens University of Charlotte in an SAC contest.

Mellinger said despite having only one conference win, his team is close to being a contender in the SAC.

“We’re scoring the ball really well,” the coach noted. “I think we’re playing very well in spurts. I think the biggest thing is we have to find consistency.

“You look at our league record and we’re 1-4 in the league. Three out of those four losses have been by two possessions or less. We’re right there, but in this league you can be right there all year long and not get the results you want.

“We’ve got to find a way to get over that hump, and I think the way of doing that is finding a little more consistency out of some different areas.”

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