CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The University of Charleston and West Virginia State are both home tonight with challenges they need to meet, for things don't get any easier come Monday.
The Golden Eagles, fourth in the West Virginia Conference standings, host Pitt Johnstown at 6 p.m. at Eddie King Gym. At 7:30 at Fleming Hall, West Virginia State will try to build its late momentum against second-place Fairmont State.
After tonight, State begins a stretch of four straight road games Monday against third-place Alderson-Broaddus. The same day, UC heads to West Liberty to face a Hilltoppers squad waiting in ambush.
But first things first. In the case of UC (15-5, 11-5 WVC), it must avoid a fourth home loss of the season against the offensively efficient Mountain Cats (13-8, 9-8), who are shooting 51.6 percent from the floor. The Golden Eagles have fared better on the road, going 8-2.
"We haven't played really well at home. I can't figure that out," said UC coach Mark Downey. "Sometimes we think that just because we show up at home we're going to win. We have better focus on the road."
Since that watershed 101-96 victory over West Liberty, the Eagles are 3-3, losing to Seton Hill, Wheeling Jesuit and Fairmont by a combined nine points. As Downey indicated, they played better in a 69-59 win at Alderson-Broaddus and a 96-69 win at Ohio Valley.
On Thursday, the Eagles righted themselves at home with a 71-66 win over Concord. Terrell Lipkins was dominant that night, scoring 25 points, but the Eagles still weren't at full strength.
Robbie Dreher missed his third game in a row with a dislocated thumb and torn ligament in his non-shooting hand. He has passed on season-ending surgery, but his comeback has been difficult.
Still, if he can be effective by Monday, the Eagles need him at West Lib.