Stith said he wanted to leave St. John's after his junior year and transfer to a lower-level school that would allow him to play immediately.
"I came here for a visit and just loved it,'' he said. "I was going to transfer, but I didn't want to sit out a year.''
Beating UC was quite a boost for first-year Fairmont coach Jerrod Calhoun, a Cleveland native and former Bob Huggins assistant at West Virginia.
"We're still trying to figure out who we are,'' said Calhoun, "and tonight was a good step in the right direction. We came with a little more energy. [UC] didn't have one of their better games. I've watched seven tapes on them. With my seven freshmen and transfers, my whole philosophy has been that we have to start guarding people better, and tonight I thought we did a good job of that.''
Among other things, Calhoun instructed his players to deny UC the 3-point line - and they did so, limiting the Golden Eagles to 5 for 27 (18.5 percent) from that distance.
"They came into the game shooting 24 3s a game, so we wanted to guard the 3-ball,'' said Calhoun. "We wanted to take away their 3s, we wanted to limit them in transition.''
"We got behind, and they were zoning us and we panicked and started jacking shots,'' said Downey. "It's my fault, but I don't think we have everyone buying in quite yet. I can still see that in their eyes. We're talented, but that doesn't mean a whole lot.''
UC, which shot 33.8 percent for the game, was led by Aleksander Kesic's 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Terrell Lipkins' 18 points on an 8-of-23 night, including 1 of 9 from 3-point distance.
Reach Mike Whiteford at mikewhitef...@wvgazette.com.