Popeck reaches a career high in loss to Grove City

Waynesburg finished the regular season at 3-6 heading into the PAC tournament

Brady's Roadhouse

Junior Matt Popeck put on a shooting clinic at the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse last Wednesday night. He scored a career high 39 points and shot 60% from the field. That was the most points scored in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference game since 2013-2014. Popeck’s 39 points weren’t enough as Grove City (6-3) never trailed in its 77-65 victory over Waynesburg (3-6).

Both teams were efficient from the field, with Grove City shooting 50.9% from the field. They also shot 7-14 (50%) from three. Waynesburg had a field goal percentage of 47.3. They also shot 7-16 (43.8%) from three-point range.

Popeck knows what worked for him offensively to allow him to score his career high.

“I was just making my shots tonight. I just kept attacking,” Popeck said. “I just stayed aggressive and was able to score that many points.”

Head coach Tim Fusina acknowledges what went right for his team.

“Our resiliency and how hard we play I think is light years ahead of where it was,” Fusina said. We make great strides moving toward what our ultimate goal is and that’s to be the best program in this conference.”

Waynesburg went on a 9-0 run in the second half. The Yellow Jackets trailed by just two points with over 11 minutes left after a Popeck three-point play. That was the closest Waynesburg would get as Grove city responded with a 9-0 run of its own to make it a 60-49 game with minutes remaining in the game.

Fusina pointed out that getting in transition was a key to making a comeback.

“[We] Scored in transition and got to the line and got stops,” Fusina said. “Just got back in the game by continuing to play hard, defend and started scoring.”

Junior Isaiah Alonzo was the other Waynesburg player to score in double figures with 14 points. He also fouled out with 1:29 remaining in the game. Freshman Bryson Wilt scored four points. Sophomores Ryan Felberg and Briston Bennett added two points apiece. Freshman Will Helton and junior Jake Benhart also each scored 2 points.

The Wolverines had three players score in double figures. Senior Justice Rice led the team with 18 points, senior Erik Meniers scored 11 points and junior Isaac Thrasher chipped in with 10 points.

Fusina and Popeck each know what they can build on heading into the PAC tournament.

“We know how dangerous we can be. We have the players, and we have the coaching,” Popeck said. “We play hard, we play defense, we’re dangerous on offense. We need to play together, play determined and know we can beat anyone.”

“Our resiliency needs to continue. I think we proved that on a nightly basis,” Fusina said. “We’re able to get ourselves back into games, but we’re also able to put teams behind us in situations. We don’t take a possession off and that’s a credit to our guys. Hopefully we get all the way to next Saturday and we’re cutting the net down. That’s our ultimate goal.”

Waynesburg would open PAC play as the seven seed. They hosted the number 10 seed St. Vincent Bearcats on Saturday at the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse.