Water emergency alters State, UC schedules
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The chemical leak which has affected the majority of tap water in Kanawha County forced a drastic, last-second change of plans for West Virginia State's men's basketball team, but the resulting long road trip has to feel better coming off Thursday night's win.
The Yellow Jackets (5-5 overall, 2-5 Mountain East Conference) scored their second conference win of the season, a 118-113 overtime decision at Virginia-Wise, marking suddenly hot State's fourth win in the last five contests.
Coach Bryan Poore and his weary squad were looking forward to coming home for a date against Notre Dame College (4-8, 2-4) today after playing five of its last six on the road.
But the chemical leak and the resulting water situation forced State to switch the venue of today's game with Notre Dame to the Falcons' home in South Euclid, Ohio, with Notre Dame returning the trip on Feb. 20.
The byproduct is another five straight games away from Institute for State. By the time the Jackets finish their game at Shepherd on Jan. 25, they will have played 10 of 11 on the road.
"We forewarned them [Thursday] night," Poore said via phone interview. "We told them there was a high possibility we were going to be on the road so they were a little aware of it last night. This is the best solution for the situation, now we've got to make the best of it. Kids are kids. They'll bounce back, take it in stride, and go with it. We jumped in the vans today and it's kind of like an old college road trip. We're all piled in here."
Not only will State be traversing the highways for quite some time, it will be logging some serious miles along the way.
Consider the distance between Virginia-Wise's campus and Notre Dame College's spans 404 miles and takes around six and a half hours to cover.
The team stopped in on campus late Thursday night into early Friday morning and slept there to try and minimize the fatigue. Poore said moving today's game actually has some advantages.
"We felt like it probably would be best to get our guys out of that situation as well," Poore said. "They can't practice and they can't even shower in the dorms, so it made the most sense to get our athletes away from it."
Awaiting the Jackets when they do throw the ball into the air at 4 p.m. today will be a Notre Dame team that is playing its fourth home game in a row.
The Falcons scored by far their best win of the season on Jan. 4 in an 82-77 win over Shepherd, but they've since had a home game against Fairmont State postponed and lost a 90-80 decision to West Virginia Wesleyan.
"If you beat Shepherd, you're pretty good," Poore said. "They're quick, athletic, they play fast, and they've got a couple of wings that can score and shoot it. They're not quite as big as we are so if we can get it inside we've got an advantage. We may be a little bit deeper than they are as well, so we're going to try to get into their bench and hopefully wear them down."
UC pushed back to Monday
State's game isn't the only game to be moved due to the chemical leak as Charleston has moved its scheduled home game on Monday against Notre Dame to the Falcons' South Euclid campus
The Golden Eagles (6-4, 3-3) are also coming off a win after picking up an 81-73 victory at Concord, accounting for UC's second win in a row after dropping three straight.
"The most important thing is the team got back to how we had been playing most of the first semester and over the first six games," coach Dwaine Osborne said. "The last two games of the first semester and our opener [of the second semester] we just didn't play with that same kind of effort and energy level. For the most part, it's kind of a young team. We have five or six seniors, but most of those guys haven't played a ton of minutes, so they're young seniors."
UC will play at winless Urbana (0-11, 0-7) Monday in a regularly scheduled game before continuing its trip through Ohio.
Elsewhere in the MEC
Other games scheduled for today include Wheeling Jesuit (6-4, 4-3) at Glenville State (7-4, 4-3); West Liberty (11-0, 7-0) at West Virginia Wesleyan (9-6, 4-3); Virginia-Wise (6-5, 3-4) at Shepherd (10-3, 5-2); and Concord (2-5, 5-8) at Fairmont State (9-3, 4-2).
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.