Eagles Soar Past Cardinals
WHEELING — Wheeling Jesuit had no answer for the University of Charleston’s Drew Rackley on Thursday night.
The junior guard was spot-on as he led the Golden Eagles to a 91-74 victory over the Cardinals at the McDonough Center on the Campus of Wheeling Jesuit.
Rackley finished with 37 points on 15 of 19 shooting, which included 5 of 6 from beyond the arc.
“We made it tough on ourselves,” Jesuit coach John Peckinpaugh said. “We tried to do some stuff differently on defense. I thought that we did a good enough job of preparing during the week to find him in the zone but we let him get a couple clean looks and when a kid like him gets a couple clean looks, it’s going to be a long night.”
Rackley sparked Charleston with 24 points in the first half.
“I thought he was really efficient,” Charleston coach Dwaine Osborne said of Rackley. “I thought he took really good shots and even some of the ones he missed were a couple of the easier ones.
“I busted his chops about going 2- for-5 from the free-throw line but I thought he did a very good job.”
The Golden Eagles’ biggest lead of the first half came at the 11:19 mark by a 28-13 count behind 16 points from Rackley, who drained four 3s in the first nine minutes of action.
“I thought we had a good run there midway through the first half,” Osborne said. “We got some stops and conversions but down the stretch we started just exchanging baskets and couldn’t get a stop.”
From there, Jesuit found its way back into the game, cutting the score to 45-37 at halftime behind nine points off of turnovers.
Steve Cannady led WJU with 10 points in the first half and Emmanuel Ansong added nine.
“I think offensively we were getting good spacing off of ball-screen motion stuff,” Peckinpaugh said. “We had some good looks and when you get good offense, it usually translates to good defense.”
The Cardinals cut it to 49-43 early in the second half but that was as close as it got.
Charleston found its rhythm on a 9-0 run that extended the lead to 58-43 less than five minutes into the half.
Sparked by a rim-rattling dunk from Devon Robinson, the lead continued to grow as the Eagles held their biggest advantage at 25 points, 83-58, with 5:16 to play.
Robinson recorded a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Joining Rackley and Robinson in double figures for Charleston were Lamont McManus with 16 points and Adam Traore with 10 points as the team shot 64.9 percent from the field.
“Offensively, we just converted our possessions at a pretty high clip and that helped us a lot,” Osborne said. “When you shoot 65 percent, you should win.”
Cannady paced the Cards with 20 points, while Ansong and DeAndre Robinson each tallied 16.
“We just have to keep working and keep getting better each day,” Peckinpaugh said. “Defensive details have to be a lot more crisp and we’re getting there.
“It will keep getting better. We just have to stay the course, keep morale up and keep guys buying into what we are trying to do.”