Malik Jacobs put up 26 points and Urbana University men’s basketball forced 22 turnovers but the Blue Knights came up short against West Virginia State on Saturday afternoon, 90-83, inside the Grimes Center.
UU falls to 0-9 (0-6 MEC) overall while WVSU improved to 6-4 (4-2 MEC).
The Blue Knights outscored the Yellow Jackets in the second half but could not overcome a nine-point halftime deficit (44-35). UU got to within five points shortly after the break on a Mike Ryan layup to make the score 44-39, but that was as close as the Blue Knights would get.
WVSU used its athleticism and size to overpower the Blue Knights on the glass with a 46-34 edge in rebounding, including timely offensive boards to prevent the Blue Knights from establishing any sort of momentum. Robert Fomby collected 17 rebounds while the visitors also had two other players with nine boards each.
UU’s only lead of the game came on Ethan Snapp’s jumper to make it 13-12 with 12:36 remaining in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets shot 48 percent overall, including 58 percent (15-26) in the second half, and made 15 more free throws than UU on 23 more attempts at the line. UU finished 44 percent from the floor as both teams knocked down nine treys.
Malik Jacobs (26 points) continues to lead UU in scoring, going 10 of 18 overall and 4 of 7 on three-point attempts. The junior guard also grabbed five boards and had three steals. Senior guard Carlas Jackson put up 17 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds while Snapp and Chris Jackson each chipped in with 11 points. Freshman forward Abdul Kanu played solid off the bench with five boards and four points in a season-high 17 minutes.
UU will host non-conference foe Central State on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.