First MEC basketball set for Saturday

by Darrell-Dingus Ely

Fans attending Saturday's game will not only see the first Mountain East Conference game in school history, they will also receive a free t-shirt and "Cavalier Cookies." A tradition that started this fall with the first MEC home contest in each sport will continue throughout the academic year as the athletic department celebrates the inaugural MEC season.

Additionally, any time the Cavaliers score 90 or more points in a home game this season, everyone in attendance will receive a free biscuit from Uncle Freds Gas Grub 'N Suds the following morning.

The game will pit two schools who have started the season in opposite directions.UVa-Wise is 2-0, including a season opening victory over Conference Carolinas preseason favorite King University.  Urbana University is 0-3 in the early going and has lost the three contests by an average of 14 points per game.

The Blue Knights have had difficulty holding on to the ball, to this point. Overall, Urbana is averaging 17 turnovers per game; by contrast, the Blue Knights are forcing just 9.7 turnovers a contest. An advantage the visitors may have is depth. Eight players are averaging 15 minutes or more for Urbana while six players are scoring five or more points a game.; Senior Danny Goins leads the Blue Kingts attack with a 16.7 points per game average. The Grace College transfer also leads the team in free throw attempts with 26. 6'5 forward Casey Barker is adding 11 points and nine rebounds a game for Urbana.

UVa-Wise struggled from the floor on Wednesday. Saturday may give the Cavs an opportunity to improve on its field goal percentage.  The Blue Knights rank next to last in the MEC in field goal percentage defense at 48.7 percent.

Each school will have a quick turn around with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching. UVa-Wise hosts Notre Dame on Monday while Urbana travels to Concord.