FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The No. 25 Fairmont State men’s basketball team went 16 days between games due to being shut down for roughly two weeks on account of COVID-19 protocols.
The Fighting Falcons only had one practice, and haven’t touched a basketball other than that since beating Wheeling on Jan. 16.
The long layoff didn’t seem to bother Tim Koenig’s club, though. An early full-court press tested both his club’s conditioning, and visiting Alderson Broaddus’ execution.
Fairmont State passed the test. The Fighting Falcons led 57-29 at halftime, and extended that lead in the second half.
Dale Bonner scored a team-high 22 points, Zyon Dobbs added 20 points and 12 boards, and Koenig got big production out of Illisia Washington and Brendan Paul off the bench.
Fairmont State rolled in its first game back, downing the Battlers 101-67.
“You know what, if it means we make some shots I’m all for it,” Koenig said with a laugh when asked if 16 days between games would be his new scheduling model.
Asked about the production he got from Paul, who scored 16 points on the back of four made 3-pointers, Koenig said, “You saw, he makes shots. That’s a game changer off the bench. We really need somebody to do that. Gave us good minutes defensively, as well, but knocking down some open threes was huge for us.”
Dobbs and Bonner played the most minutes out of anyone on Fairmont State. Despite playing for a university just minutes from where he played his high school ball, Dobbs said the lone team practice was the only time he touched the ball during the layoff, as well.
“I stayed on campus, because I didn’t want to give it to my parents and all that,” said Dobbs, who registered the first double-double of his collegiate career. “We isolated in the room for 10-plus days and we (weren’t) doing nothing but playing video games and doing online homework.”
“I couldn’t leave the room,” he said when asked by another reporter. “I was in lockup.”
Asked how he felt after the game, Bonner said, “(My legs) feel fine. … I feel perfectly fine, like normal.”
It’s a quick turn around for Fairmont State, who hosts the University of Charleston at Joe Retton Arena on Wednesday.
Alderson Broaddus, which was led by Coryon Rice’s 17 points on Monday, is back in action at Concord on Wednesday.