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Up-and-down Tech surging again

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After already enduring an eight-game losing streak this season, any win tastes pretty sweet for WVU Tech.

But last week's pair of victories were even just a bit sweeter.

"The past week was payback week for the team," Tech coach Bob Williams said.

Indeed, the Golden Bears took care of Washington Adventist and Campbellsville on Thursday and Saturday in Montgomery, avenging losses to each squad from earlier in the year.

"We were down three at halftime against Campbellsville and outscored them by 14 in the second half," Williams said. "We forced a lot of turnovers, hit some big shots, got some big stops when we needed them - it was a high-emotion game for our kids."

The earlier losses to Washington Adventist and Campbellsville were part of Tech's eight-game skid, which came on the heels of a blistering 8-1 start.

"We went through a stretch of injuries and some really difficult games on the road," Williams said. "We had five games in 10 days against some really good teams, and that took a lot out of us and we lost confidence."

But the brutality of such a futile stretch has been buried by five straight wins for the suddenly streaking Bears.

The addition of 6-foot-7 Stephen Coles certainly hasn't hurt, as the senior forward has averaged 19 points while leading the team to a 5-1 record since his arrival.

Originally a commitment of Lamar University in Texas, Coles has made his rounds before finally settling in for a final semester with Tech.

Williams said Coles has given his team a dynamic player on both ends of the floor.

"He's a really good, high-impact type of player," Williams said.

Williams also points to recovering health as a big factor for his team's resurgence.

"It's been a roller-coaster ride," Williams said. "We started to get healthy. The big game for us was on Jan. 10 against Lindenwood University-Belleville. They are in the AII [Association of Independent Institutions] with us and that was a big win at home for us."

In fact Tech and Lindenwood-Belleville are two of six teams in the AII Division I along with Life, Allen, Morris, and California State-San Marcos.

Those six squads will play in the AII tournament March 7-9 in Atlanta with a trip to the NAIA championship tournament in Kansas City on the line.

Tech (13-9) will travel to Lindenwood-Belleville in the regular-season finale but will not see any of the other four teams before the AII tournament.

Since that big win over the Lynx, Tech has kept rolling, including a win at Wilberforce in which the Golden Bears trailed 32-9 at one point and rallied for a seven-point win (93-86).

Tech will look to continue to ride its current momentum tonight at WVU-Parkersburg in a 7:30 start.

The Golden Bears defeated WVU-Parkersburg 111-70 earlier this season as Brandon Burgraff buried 10 3-pointers. After tonight's contest, Tech will travel to Davis & Elkins for another in-state road game.

"[WVU-Parkersburg plays] hard and they're well coached," Williams said. "We're probably the more talented team going in, we've just got to be ready to play. Then we play D&E and they're very good, but we can't look past these guys [today]. We've just got to go up there and do what we do on the offensive and defensive ends and concentrate on our system."

Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pritt@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.

 


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