Preview: Jackets rested and ready to end skid at W&J

A week ago, the Waynesburg University men’s basketball team lost to Geneva in the final seconds.

After having the weekend off, the men resume play for the final stretch of the season, as they’ll head up the interstate to face off against Washington & Jefferson. First year coach Tim Fusina has moved past the loss and is ready for this week. With the Yellow Jackets having the weekend off, Fusina had one word for how his team spent the bye. 

“Rest,” Fusina said. 

The team is aware that even after the heart breaker at the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse, they have to get themselves ready for the next game.

“We don’t have time for an emotional let-down,” Fusina said. 

As the team prepares for a rematch with W&J, it’s ready for a unique challenge. The Presidents don’t necessarily have one-star player, but a group of six or seven guys who are capable.

“We have to understand who they are and what they do,” Fusina said. 

The Presidents [7-6, 12-10] are playing good basketball, currently riding a  two-game win streak, including an overtime win against Westminster. 

The Yellow Jackets [4-17, 4-8] come in on a much less positive streak, as they’ve lost five in a row. The team hasn’t won  since January 18. 

The Jackets beat the Presidents in their last matchup, outscoring them by 15 in the 85-70 victory. The win was the second of their four-game win streak, which has been the highlight of the season to this point. Waynesburg shot the ball well from deep, hitting 45 percent of its  three-point attempts. Even with the success from downtown in their first meeting, Fusina doesn’t plan on having the team shoot the three ball more frequently than usual. 

“We’re a team that wants to play inside out first regardless of what our shooting percentage is. We want to make sure we get great shots, whether that’s a three or a layup,” Fusina said. 

Whenever it comes to scoring inside, 6’10 Isaiah Alonzo is a good bet to take care of that. Alonzo is the team’s leading scorer, and he had 12 last time these two faced off.

One thing the team is hoping stays the same from last time is the performance of freshman point guard Ryan Feldberg. Feldberg had quite the showing in his first game against the Presidents, scoring 22 points on three of six shooting from three. Against Geneva, Felberg scored 16 points, and never came off the floor, playing all 40 minutes. 

Fusina knows the freshman is capable of much more than scoring and endurance.

“He’s our best defender, [and] he’s our best scorer right now,” Fusina said. “So we have big plans for him moving forward. I’m expecting him to have a big week.”

The Yellow Jackets currently have the last spot in the PAC playoffs. A win against W&J would go a long way to securing the eighth seed.