PARKERSBURG – Doug Dennis and Wes Mitchem combined for 50 points and host Parkersburg South connected on 12 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off visiting University by a 76-68 score Wednesday night at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.
“Easily the wildest fourth quarter we have played this season,” said Patriots’ head coach Mike Fallon. “We were up by 15 heading into the final quarter and played like we were 15 points down.”
Parkersburg South, which has now won five games in a row, improved to 7-1 on the season with a road game at Morgantown on Friday while University dropped to 5-3 on the campaign.
“Definitely a big game (Morgantown),” added Fallon. “Tonight (against University) was a big game and now Morgantown will be a big game. Not only are all of us in the same conference (Two Rivers Athletic Conference), but we are also in the same region, so every game we play against them is big.”
And, the bigger the game, the better Dennis and Mitchem play.
Dennis, as well as fellow senior Tyler Bolen, got things rolling for the hosts early as he connected on a pair of triples and tallied 10 of his game-high 26 points in the first eight minutes of play as the Patriots jumped out to an early 22-15 advantage.
Mitchem, who finished with 16 rebounds to lead both teams, did the bulk of his damage after halftime as the senior poured in 19 of his 24 points over the final 16 minutes of action.
University was led by Travis Tomer, who tallied 18 points. Carl Dixon chipped in 11 points while Adam Meadows added 10.
The Patriots took advantage of several second chance opportunities to build a 32-26 lead at the intermission. University hampered its own game by committing 12 turnovers and hitting on only 4-of-11 shots in the second eight minutes of action.
Mitchem dominated the beginning of the second half, scoring on a putback to ignite an 8-4 run to give the hosts a 40-30 lead with five minutes remaining in the period. The margin would grow to 23 points, 55-32, on a Mitchem triple with just over two minutes left in the quarter.
The Hawks would slice the deficit to 15, 55-40, on a deuce by Dixon, a triple by Tomer and a triple by Dixon over the final 1:54 of the quarter. University would continue to chip away at the margin, slicing it to four, 71-67, on a bucket by Tevin Dixon with 1:14 left in the game.
But, that would be as close as the visitors would get as junior Kyle Thompson hit a pair of free throws, Bolen would make good on one-of-two and Mitchem would hit a pair as the Patriots put together a 5-1 run over the final 50 seconds of the game.
“I think I get more rattled than the kids,” said Fallon. “They never seemed to get down and hit some big free throws down the stretch to help us pull out the win.”