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Waynesburg topples Franciscan, 90-71

STEUBENVILLE — Waynesburg willed its way to a win against the Franciscan University of Steubenville during its home opener Wednesday evening.

The Waynesburg men’s basketball team trailed Franciscan by two points at halftime, but the tide turned in the second half, as the Yellow Jackets stung the Barons, 90-71, in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference matchup on Henry J. Kuzma Court inside Finnegan Fieldhouse.

Waynesburg outscored Franciscan, 54-33, after halftime.

“They did not do anything we didn’t expect,” Franciscan head coach Joe Wallace said.

“They are bigger, and they are more physical. We were not able to disrupt them in the full court. They were able to play their style. They did what they wanted to do in the second half.”

The final margin of 19 points was Waynesburg’s biggest lead of the night. Franciscan’s biggest lead was just three points.

The Yellow Jackets (1-3) controlled the paint, en route to their first victory of the season.

Waynesburg scored 56 of its points in the paint, while Franciscan finished with 18.

The Yellow Jackets collected 18 second-chance points, compared to five from the Barons. The visitors outrebounded the hosts, 54-27, and the Yellow Jackets blocked five shots, while the Barons did.

“They hammered us on the boards,” Wallace said.

While the Yellow Jackets were dominating inside, the Barons (1-2) did their fair share of damage from the outside. Franciscan drained 10 3-pointers, while Waynesburg connected on three. Though the Barons outscored the Yellow Jackets by 21 points from long range, it was not enough to keep Franciscan in the game.

“Our style is precipitated on disruption,” Wallace said. “We were not able to disrupt them. We could not get into a rhythm.”

Three players produced double digits in points for Franciscan. Sean Hickey collected a team-high 18 points, while redshirt freshman Josh Zimmerman, a Big Red graduate, and Tristian McDannell each tallied 14 points.

“Josh got into some early foul trouble tonight,” Wallace said. “We rely on Josh. He is a difference maker. He does the little things. He has a very high ceiling. We expect big things from him.”

Zimmerman is one of the five starters for the Barons. He played nine games last season before suffering a season-ending injury.

“Josh has come a long way as a player and as a man,” Wallace said. “He has no idea how high his ceiling is.”

Four players reached double figures in scoring for the Yellow Jackets. Ryan Felberg finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the way. Isaiah Alonzo scored 17, while grabbing 12 rebounds, Jansen Knotts contributed a double-double with 14 points, while also pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds. Bryson Wilt delivered 13 points and a game-high four blocks.

The Yellow Jackets outscored the Barons, 17-3, in the first 5:58 of the second half, en route to building a 53-41 advantage, and they never looked back.

The game was Franciscan’s first since a 99-77 loss Jan. 27 at Westminster.

“Apparently, we did not handle it well,” Wallace said of his team’s three-week break between games. “I think we practiced too hard. I think that led to us lacking energy in the second half.”

Wallace took the blame for how his team handled the long layoff.

“We had nothing but practices for three weeks,” he said. “We had a opportunities to maybe pick up a couple of games. I just didn’t do the right thing. We have never been in this situation before. This is something I will learn from.

“The difference between high schools and us is we get tested three times a week. If someone tests positive in our bubble, we have to shut down for 10 days. This is a new challenge for us. Our guys have done a great job, and they are going to continue to do a great job. We are going to get back to playing a normal schedule. We play Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. You have to deal with it no matter your walk of life.”

Franciscan led, 38-36, at halftime. Hickey collected 17 points in the first 20 minutes. Waynesburg led by as many as six points on three occasions in the first half.

The Yellow Jackets came out strong to start the second half. They built a 63-49 lead with 9:39 left to play in the game, and it pushed that lead up to 74-58 with 6:38 remaining to be played.

Franciscan is scheduled to play again at 1 p.m. Saturday at Washington & Jefferson College inside the Salvitti Family Gymnasium.

“We have a lot of new guys,” Wallace said. “We have a lot of freshmen. We expect them to give our older guys a break. They come to gym every day, and they practice hard. They are in the gym all the time. We are going to get back after it tomorrow. We are going to learn from this. We are going to figure out what happened. We are going to play better Saturday.”

Waynesburg is scheduled to play Bethany at 2 p.m. Saturday at home inside the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse.

Waynesburg 90, Franciscan 71

Waynesburg 36 54 — 90

Franciscan 38 33 — 71

WAYNESBURG (1-3): Popek 6 2-2 14, Wilt 5 2-3 13, Helton 1 1-2 3, Felberg 7 5-6 21, Alonzo 6 5-5 17, Bennett 4 0-1 8, Knotts 3 8-10 14, Benhart 0 0-0 0, Scheidt 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 32, 23-29: 90.

FRANCISCAN (1-2): Nguyen 3 2-3 9, Case 0 0-0 0, Griffin 3 2-2 9, Wood 0 0-0 0, McDannell 4 4-4 14, Lien 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 4 6-9 14, Quinlan 0 0-0 0, Allienello 1 2-2 5, Lancaster 0 0-0 0, Hickey 6 1-2 18, Parrish 0 0-0 0, Camastro 0 0-0 0, Vernau 1 0-0 2, Baxley 0 0-0 0, Ciola 0 0-0 0, Davis 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22, 17-21: 71.

3-POINT GOALS: Waynesburg 3 (Felberg 2, Wilt); Franciscan 10 (Hickey 5, McDannell 2, Nguyen, Griffin, Allienello). REBOUNDS: Waynesburg 54 (Knotts 16), Franciscan 27 (Allienello 10). ASSISTS: Waynesburg 13 (Wilt 4); Franciscan 14 (Nguyen). BLOCKS: Waynesburg 5 (Wilt 4); Franciscan none. STEALS: Waynesburg 5 (Wilt 2, Knott 2); Franciscan 9 (Hickey 3). TURNOVERS: Waynesburg 16, Franciscan 10.

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