ETTRICK, Va. — Fairmont State used a strong second half to pull away from Virginia State, 72-55, on Tuesday evening.
The Falcons shot 54 percent from the field and 61 percent (8-13) from three point range in the vicotry. The Trojans managed just 32 percent from the field and 43 percent from behind the arc.
Fairmont State held a decisive 28-14 scoring advantage in the paint and out-rebounded Virginia State by a slim 34-30 margin. FSU also got big contributions from its bench with 33 points.
The Falcons came up huge on the defensive end holding the Trojans to just 23 points in the opening half and just 55 in the game. VSU scored just eight field goals in each half of play.
Fairmont State (2-0) was led by Stevie Browning, a freshman and Logan High School graduate, who came off the bench and led the Falcons with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 3-of-5 from three point range. Malik Stith was just shy of a double-double with 12 points and eight assists to help guide the Falcon offense. Issac Thornton also reached double figures with 10 points. Browning, Thornton and Hill each had five rebounds for FSU.
Virginia State (0-1) was led by Christopher Grier with 18 points and four rebounds. Kenny Mitchell chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds for the Trojans. Khalil Tate also reached double figures with 10 points. Mike Bynum helped guide the VSU offense with five assists.
With Virginia State leading 6-4 early in the first half, Fairmont State went on a 13-4 run to open up its biggest lead of the first half at 17-8 at the 9:23 mark. The two teams would stay close for the remainder of the first half with the Falcons taking a 29-23 advantage into the break.
Fairmont State would use a 12-3 run to start the second half and stretched its lead to 15 points with 16:54 to play. The Trojans would cut the Falcons lead to just eight points with just over 13 minutes to play, however the Falcons extended their lead back to 13 after a 3-ball by Browning and a layup by Andrew Gunnoe.
Virginia State would get within nine points one final time with seven minutes to play, however, the Falcons would answer with a layup from Thronton and three from Browning to stretch the lead back to double digits. The Falcons would stretch their lead to as many as 17 and picked up the 72-55 victory.
The Falcons are scheduld to return to action on Friday with a non-conference matchup with WVU Tech. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Fairmont’s Joe Retton Arena.