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Annett’s long shots help revive sluggish UC

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- By hitting back-to-back 3s early in the second half, Hayden Annett enlivened a sluggish University of Charleston offense and demonstrated the luxury of a deep roster.

The two baskets helped trigger a scoring binge that allowed the Golden Eagles to overcome a two-point deficit and hurry off to an 87-56 victory over Davis & Elkins Monday night at Eddie King Gym. A crowd of about 150 attended.

Although Annett was making just his second start of the season, his soft shooting touch and all-around play give coach Mark Downey some nice options.

In this case, Downey wanted to shake things up after a 71-61 home loss to Fairmont State on Saturday.

"I was trying to get some people's attention,'' said Downey.

To do so, he benched Xavier Humphrey and Corey Jackson and tabbed Annett and Quincy Washington to start.

Annett, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard from Portland, Australia, contributed 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including those two 3-pointers that gave UC a 42-35 lead during a 19-1 hot streak.

After falling behind 35-33 to start the second half, the Golden Eagles (6-2) surged to a 52-36 advantage and breezed from there. 

As an Indiana prep school transfer, Annett welcomes any playing time he can get.

"I'm just happy playing,'' he said. "I sat out a year, so I'm fine with just playing.''

Washington, a 6-5 junior guard from Florence, S.C., who was making his first start of the season, scored his team's first four points and finished with 10 on 4-of-8 shooting.

Downey seemed pleased with both players.

"Hayden doesn't make mistakes,'' said the UC coach. "He's not the greatest athlete, but he's where he's supposed to be. If he's open, he's going to make shots. I told the team [Sunday] that Hayden is a guy I trust. And Quincy's been playing his butt off. He plays hard. He's got a lot of energy. He makes me pull my hair out sometimes, but he's getting to the rim and finishing at the rim and rebounding and playing defense and doing a lot of good things for us.''

Humphrey, a 6-6 Marshall transfer, is second on the team in scoring and rebounding at 13.1 and 6.3, respectively, but is capable of more, said Downey. 

"I want Xavier Humphrey to expect more out of himself,'' he said. "We need to get more out of him than just shooting 3s. He's got to guard and rebound and be tough with the ball. He's got to be better there.''

By hitting 4-of-9 3-point attempts, Annett improved to 19 of 43 (44 percent) from that distance and averages nine points a game.

"My teammates did a good job of getting me open,'' he said. "They always look for me, and I was able to knock 'em down.''

Robbie Dreher, a 6-4 junior guard, came off the bench to score 14 points, and junior guard Terrell Lipkins, UC's shortest starter at 5-11, led the team with nine rebounds and contributed 11 points and seven assists.

"He ran the show as well tonight as he has all year,'' said Downey. 

UC's Aleksander Kesic also had 10 points.

D&E (1-5), which defeated West Virginia State by 19 points on Saturday, was led by Devin Miller with 16 points and Igor Premasunac with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Reach Mike Whiteford at mikewhiteford@wvgazette.com.

 


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