FAIRMONT, W. Va. – Freshman Matt Treacy scorched the nets for 33 points to lead Urbana University (5-8, 3-6 MEC) in a thrilling 78-76 upset win over No. 22 Fairmont State (11-4, 8-1 MEC) in Joe Retton Arena.
UU only trailed once and led by as much as 12 in the hostile environment. The Blue Knights have won three of their past four games since returning from the holiday break.
It’s the first victory over a ranked team for head coach Nick Dials and the first win for UU men’s basketball against the Fighting Falcons, who entered the night undefeated in conference play. FSU held a 12-0 advantage in the all-time series prior to the contest.
“I’ve been proud of my guys all season,” Dials said. “The record isn’t where we want it to be, but these guys have fought and fought all season. We have a big learning curve, but our guys have bought in day in and day out after rough practices, good practices, losses and wins. I really believe our best basketball is ahead of us.
“Fairmont is a great program and Joe (Mazzulla) is a great coach,” he added. “For us to get a win against a team of this caliber means a lot. It’s a good win for us, but at the same time this win isn’t our season. We want to keep growing and keep progressing as a team.”
Treacy caught fire early with back-to-back threes to open the game, sparking a 12-2 lead for UU. The Blue Knights held the Falcons scoreless for the opening five minutes of the game, and led 18-6 at the first media timeout.
The key to victory was UU’s ability to respond to every FSU threat.
FSU roared back to even the score 18-18 as Vonte Montgomery scored 12 of the first 14 points for the Falcons. However, Mike Ryan stopped the drought and put the Blue Knights back ahead with an offensive rebound and put-back layup. That momentum swing led to a 39-33 halftime advantage.
Treacy scored 22 points in the first half and picked things right back up in the second. He started the scoring with a three and then his layup at the 17:53 mark put the Blue Knights up 44-33. The freshman poured in the second-most field goals in UU’s Division II era by going 13 of 19 (68.4%) from the floor and his six 3-pointers are tied for the fifth most in a game.
The Falcons roared back with two more runs in the second half, including an 11-0 spurt to claim their first lead with 10 minutes remaining, 53-51. However, the resilient Blue Knights responded again with a 14-3 run that saw big baskets from Jordan Bradley, Zach Bates and Ethan Snapp.
Malik Jacobs put UU ahead 65-56 on a reverse layup with 3:24 left and the senior carried the torch down the stretch with nine of the team’s final 13 points. He finished with 16 points and has scored double digits in every game this season.
In the final minute, FSU twice cut the deficit to three points but UU went 6 of 8 at the free-throw line. The Falcons hit a shot at the buzzer for the final two-point margin.
UU held FSU’s leading scorer Jason Jolly (17.9 ppg) scoreless in the first half and 12 of his 15 points came in the final three-plus minutes. Kenzie Melko led the Falcons with 25 points while Vonte Montgomery added 20. The Blue Knights outshot the Falcons with an impressive 55-percent clip overall from the floor and 50 percent from three-point range. UU also held the rebounding edge, 31-30.
Freshmen Datrey Long and Bates chipped in with eight points while Snapp dished out a team-high five assists. Jacobs hauled in a team-high eight rebounds.
UU faces another stiff road test today at Shepherd. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. in Shepherdstown, W. Va.