Preview: Jackets go to Thiel for second to last contest

Waynesburg's playoff hopes still in doubt with two to play.

GREENEVILLE, PA– The first time Waynesburg played Thiel this season, it was a close game until the Yellow Jackets (4-10, 4-19) pulled away from the Tomcats (5-9, 6-15) in the second half at the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse. The Jackets came out on top 76-64, in the fourth game of  the Jackets four game win streak. . Waynesburg looks to end a seven-game losing streak on the season this Wednesday in its second meeting against Thiel, this one in Greeneville, PA. 

Coach Tim Fusina said the Tomcats are a big and strong team who wants to get inside the paint .

“They want to drive it, they want to get inside and score that way,” Fusina said. “We are going to have to contest all their shots and we are going to have to work for our shots. They are very physical”. 

Thiel is on a four game losing streak. Last game, the Tomcats lost to first-place Grove City 60-57. Senior Waynesburg guard Frank Bozicevic,  who had 26 points in the first meeting against Thiel, said the Jackets need to find consistency over these last two games of the regular season. 

“Throughout the year we have played in games where we go on really good runs, then we aren’t able to sustain those runs,” Bozicevic said. “The key is to play a whole game like we are going on a long run as in previous games”.

Boxing Out is Key

The Tomcats lead the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in offensive rebounding. In the first  matchup, however, Waynesburg out rebounded the statistical leaders. Thiel tomcats averages 43 rebounds per game, while the Jackets  are at the bottom of the list with 31 per game. 

“Going in we know rebounding is a key emphasis,” Bozicevic said. “If we are able to keep them off the offensive glass, we will have a good chance at winning the game”.

Block the Paint

Another focus  of the game will be if Waynesburg can keep Thiel from scoring in the paint. The Tomcats  scored 36 points in the paint in the first game against the Jackets jackets.

Overall, however, Waynesburg held its own defensively, holding Thiel to 64 points. 

“What we worked on was our attention to detail on defense [last matchup]. We had a special defensive game plan going into the game, which was then translated well,” Bozicevic said. 

Sealing the Deal

Waynesburg is eight in the PAC, with eight of nine teams qualifying for playoffs, and are currently one game ahead of last place Bethany. The next two games, one of which is against the Bison Saturday, have high stakes for the Jackets. 

“We can potentially get the 7th seed instead of the 8th seed,” Bozicevic said. “It is huge knowing we have the chance to fight for a spot with Bethany who is right behind us.”

Waynesburg must beat Bethany, a team they lost to earlier in the season who has the potential to knock them out of the playoff picture. Waynesburg will host that the game Saturday. 

Tonight’s game at Thiel is scheduled for 7:30.