Downey admits he never knows what to expect from his team. And he certainly didn't know what to expect Saturday in light of Thursday's double-overtime loss at Wheeling Jesuit.
"Never. Not with this group,'' he said. "I didn't really know what to expect, especially after Thursday, losing in double-overtime in a huge game for us. So I was worried about these guys thinking they didn't have much to play for. I was worried about what they might do, but they responded.''
Said Faulkner, a junior from Sandyhook, Ky., "Hopefully this game gets us going into the conference tournament.''
State enters the tournament on a three-game losing streak and five losses in six games but offered a glimmer of hope in the second half, outscoring UC 48-42 and shooting 54.3 percent.
"I told our guys that everybody's zero and zero,'' said State coach Bryan Poore. "We have the same right as anyone else to win this thing. But we've got to play every possession like it's our last, but we haven't found a way to do that yet, but hopefully now we will.''
UC junior Robbie Dreher led the scoring with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including an unexpected 2 of 3 from 3-point range. He entered the game having shot just 7 for 27 from that distance.
"When Dreher hits 'em,'' said Poore, "and we weren't counting on that, now we've really got to stretch the defense out. We were kind of on our heels in the first half.''
Faulkner and Terrell Lipkins totaled 16 points each and Quincy Washington came off the bench to score 10 for UC. State's Anton Hutchins, who did not start, led the Jackets with 12 points, Jalen Walker added 11 and David Ford and Raymon Austin had 10 each.
Reach Mike Whiteford at mikewhitef...@wvgazette.com.