CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- WVU Tech faces the task of taking on one of the preseason favorites in the West Virginia Conference today at 7:30 p.m. when the Golden Bears travel to Joe Retton Arena to play Fairmont State. Tech (6-3) is coming off a narrow 96-95 loss at Glenville State on Tuesday, when the Golden Bears had the ball in the game's final 10 seconds with a chance to tie the game but could only settle for two points. Senior guard David Rawlinson, who scored 34 points against the Pioneers, enters today's contest averaging 26.4 points and is the reigning United States Collegiate Athletic Association national player of the week. Rawlinson also leads the team in assists (52) and steals (18) to go with 6.6 rebounds per game. The Golden Bears have been more than just a one-man team so far this season with Kornilious Donnell (12.0) and Terrale Clark (13.5) also averaging double-figures in scoring. Clark and Donnell both average more than seven rebounds per game. Fairmont State (2-0), picked third in the preseason WVC coaches poll, is breaking in a bevy of new players to go along with returning senior and All-WVC performer Isaac Thornton. In its first game, FSU's Brendan Cooper lit up Ohio-Easter for 26 points and nine rebounds, but a minor back injury kept him out of the Falcons' win against Virginia State on Tuesday. In that game, Thornton scored 10 points to go with five rebounds and former Logan High star Stevie Browning tallied 16 points and five rebounds in just his second collegiate game. Tech and Fairmont State have met 71 previous times, but not since the 2005-06 season, with the Falcons holding a 41-30 edge in the all-time series.
The West Virginia State men's basketball team is in Mt. Olive, N.C., this weekend to take part in the Pickle Classic.
The Yellow Jackets (1-1) play the host, Mount Olive College, at 7:30 tonight and take on Lenoir-Rhyne College at 5 p.m. Saturday.
State's two games were part of the Conference Challenge at Mercyhurt College in Erie, Pa. The Yellow Jackets won their opening game 76-72 against Kutztown behind 15 points from Howard Douglas and 11 from Anton Hutchins. Offense was hard to come by in State's loss to Mercyhurst as the team shot just 23 percent and only managed 40 points.
It will be the first game of the season for Mount Olive, which lost an exhibition contest 102-65 to Division 1 Old Dominion.
Lenoir-Rhyne (2-0) owns wins against Limestone and Queens, both at the Conference Carolinas/SAC Tip-Off Classic. The Bears are led in scoring by Densel Dillingham, who averages 18.5 points, and in rebounding by Matt Kuns (11.5 per game).
Reach Tom Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org.