The Cavaliers committed 31 turnovers in dropping a 69-63 South Atlantic Conference decision to Tusculum at the Prior Convocation Center.
“We turned the ball over too much to win the game,” said UVA Wise coach Jamie Cluesman. “If you look at the box score, we shoot 50% from the field and 38% from 3. When you shoot that well, you’ve got to win games.
“Some of the turnovers were forced, but a lot of them were unforced turnovers.”
The loss came after a dramatic 67-66 win over SAC leader Catawba last Saturday.
“I don’t think our focus was there from the beginning. We looked a little tired, so I think we take that into consideration. I know Saturday was a good day for us, but we still had three days to prepare.
“We’ll bounce back and we’ll be ready for Newberry on Saturday.”
With the loss, the Cavaliers (10-11, 6-9) dropped into a tie with Lincoln Memorial for the eighth spot in the SAC, a game behind Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne and two games behind Newberry with seven conference games left in the regular season.
The eighth spot is important because only eight teams advance to the conference tournament from the 12-team league.
The Cavs travel to Wingate (13-9, 7-8) for a key conference contest.
“We should go in confident. We beat them here at our place. I think we match up well against them,” Cluesman said.
The second-year UVA Wise coach said there’s no pressure for her team as far as making the postseason, primarily because no one expects them to be in the tournament.
The Cavaliers played seven players, four juniors and three freshmen, in Wednesday’s game because of injuries.
“If you look at our season after everything we’ve been through, playing freshmen big minutes, playing kids out of position. ... I don’t think there’s any pressure. I think people have already counted us out because they look at the box score and they see who’s playing and they see who’s in dress clothes on the bench. But we’re not going to quit. We’re just going to continue to give our best effort. We’re still going to scout and prepare the same way we’ve been preparing since day one. We’re not going to quit anytime soon,” said Cluesman.
Mia Long led Tusculum’s scorers with 17 points, while Maddie Sutton had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Pioneers.
UVA Wise freshman Nia Vanzant led all scorers with 23 points, while Ada Stanley had 12 points, and Kalee Johnson added 10.
TUSCULUM MEN ROLL
Tusculum (14-9, 9-6) took the lead on the first basket and never trailed on the way to a 78-68 SAC win over the home-standing Cavaliers (5-16, 1-14).
The Pioneers’ Dillon Smith led all scorers with 22 points, while Caleb Hodnett and Brandon Mitchell both finished with double-double performances for Tusculum. Hodnett scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, and Mitchell had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Trenton Gibson added 14 points.
UVA Wise’s Chance Sheffey scored 13 points and became the 36th player in the program’s history to surpass the 1,000-point career mark.
The Cavs got a team-high 21 points from Cameron Whiteside, while Briggs Parris finished with 11 points, and Yesid Mosquera-Perea scored 10.