Balanced Tech notches win
MONTGOMERY, W.Va. -- As one of only two seniors on the team, point guard David Rawlinson has led WVU Tech through good times and bad this season, averaging 21.7 points, placing him fifth among all scorers in NAIA Division I.
But on Saturday, forward Kornilous Donnell and some other supporting characters sure gave Rawlinson a lot of help.
Donnell hit 6 of 7 3-pointers, including four in a row to open the second half as part of a 23-8 run stretching across the halves, and Tech held off former Mid-South Conference foe Campbellsville 95-84 at the Neal D. Baisi Center.
Donnell scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but that sharp-shooting outburst gave the Golden Bears (13-9) all the momentum they needed for the rest of the game.
"Our team is improving and our 'D' is getting better," Tech coach Bob Williams said. "We are small and we really need some inside help, but we've got tough kids. We've got an All-American candidate at point guard and when we shoot like that - the kids played with a lot of energy and we were tough."
Time will tell if Rawlinson is honored as an NAIA All-American, but if he keeps putting up lines like he did Saturday he'll make it extremely tough to be overlooked.
Rawlinson had a game-high 28 points to go with eight assists, five rebounds and four steals, with 21 of his points coming after halftime. He also connected on 15 of 17 foul shots as part of a combined 30-of-33 team effort.
"When Korn started hitting everything, that really started opening up everything for me," Rawlinson said. "In the first half they were used to the scouting report and they sank in and helped on penetration. In the second half, everybody got hot and it opened up things for me."
Donnell's big flurry and Rawlinson's big half were certainly factors in Tech's win, but Jaren Marino (20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists) and senior Terrale Clark (19 points, six rebounds) each turned in 37 solid minutes and did a lot of damage in the first half while Rawlinson played distributor.
It was the fifth win in the last six games for Tech and the Golden Bears are 4-1 since the semester break. Even with three walk-ons and no real post presence, Tech just may be hitting its stride.
"We've had two really good weeks of practice," Rawlinson said. "We are really getting the defensive concepts down with the new guys and everybody is starting to click. I think everything is starting to come together."
The game was a seesaw battle early and was swayed by the biggest of mistakes by the Tigers' Vernon Payne.
The junior forward was keeping Campbellsville (12-8) in the game, scoring 15 points in the first 16 minutes, including two straight monster alley-oop dunks that seemed to tilt momentum.
But after burying a 3-pointer to cut Tech's lead to 36-30 in the waning moments of the half, he was called for a technical foul for taunting the crowd. Campbellsville coach Keith Adkins nearly exploded and Payne, who up until that point had been the Tigers' best scoring option by far, didn't see the floor again.
Eddie Gordon nailed the resulting two free throws and a Donnell 3-pointer with two seconds left gave the Bears a sudden 11-point lead at the break, their biggest of the game to that point.
Donnell's personal 12-3 spurt to begin the second half grew the lead to 20, and although the Tigers eventually cut the deficit to under 10 in the final minute, by then the game had become a foul-shooting contest.
On this day there was just no outshooting the Golden Bears.
"I don't think we competed and battled hard," Adkins said. "I think we were very passive. Give them credit for making shots. They're a good team, they have good athletes, and Coach Williams, I have the utmost respect for him as a coach and I think he does a great job. But the bottom line is I don't think we competed as good as we should've."
Justin Ennis scored 20 points to lead Campbellsville and Addison Smith chipped in with 11.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.