The Trojans had a great pace going throughout their second round appearance, but unfortunately lost control at the end. #3 Virginia State fell 82-80 to #2 West Liberty on Sunday in the D2 Atlantic Regional semifinals.
First half: HOT!
VSU opened an early 17-6 lead in the first five minutes. WLU responded and cut the trail to three points with 11:55 left in the first half. The Trojans made three straight baskets in under two minutes to push the lead to nine points. WLU would not go away and responded with two straight baskets to cut the trail down to four at 28-24. VSU never gave up the lead and managed to push it up to ten points twice. The Trojans fell cold in the final 1:20 of play and WLU took advantage, scoring three times to cut the trail back to four points. A fastbreak layup gave VSU a six point lead with less than a minute left, but a responding WLU three-pointer sent the Trojans into halftime narrowly ahead 47-44.
Second half: Cold…
West Liberty opened the second half with a dunk to cut the trail to one point. The Trojans went on a 20-12 push to get the lead back up at 67-58 with 10:17 left in regulation. WLU responded with two good shots at the line and a three-pointer to bring the trail down to four points, but VSU cashed back-to-back layups to push it back to eight. After that, though, things got quiet for the Trojans. VSU did not score for over four minutes, which allowed WLU to score ten unanswered and take a 73-71 lead with 3:40 to go. VSU responded with a three to take a one-point lead, but a layup response gave WLU a lead it would not give up. The Trojans went to the line with two seconds left with hopes to make one shot, miss the other and get the rebound for the go-ahead overtime bucket. The plan fell through, and Virginia State was sent home with the 82-80 heartbreak loss
VSU’s Cedric Wiggins led in scoring with 14 points and Jalen Jackson followed with 13 of his own. The Trojans’ season ends at 28-5 overall and with the CIAA title.