WEST LIBERTY - The seventh-ranked NCAA Division II men's basketball power West Liberty University continued its domination of backyard rival Wheeling Jesuit University on Wednesday night at the ASRC.
Although the nation's leading scoring team didn't quite reach its points per game average of 99.9, the Hilltoppers never trailed after exploding out to an 8-0 lead in the opening 2 minutes on their way to knocking off the visiting Cardinals 93-72.
The victory elevated West Liberty's spotless West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record to 6-0 and its overall mark to 11-1. Last night's triumph also was its 14th victory in the last 15 games against Wheeling Jesuit University. The Cardinals haven't enjoyed a victory in this heated rivalry since Feb. 2, 2009.
West Liberty’s Shawn Dyer (12) shoots over Wheeling Jesuit’s Ben Siefert on Wednesday at the ASRC.
''This was a good, solid win against a very talented and experienced team," West Liberty coach Jim Crutchfield said. ''I thought we played hard but kind of methodical. We didn't have the chest-bumping type of 20-0 runs that we've seen but the guys played with a consistent level of intensity. Whenever (Wheeling Jesuit) started to make a little bit of a run, we played smart and spread it around a little bit. Then little Timmy Hausfeld provided the dagger a few times."
Among the 5-foot-7 sophomore guard's five 3-pointers were several huge shots.
Late in the half when the Cardinals pulled to within 10 points after Recardo Gaddy's triple, the Hilltoppers got the ball to Hausfeld deep in the corner and his trifecta splashed through the cords giving the hosts their 49-36 advantage heading into the locker room.
Midway through the second half, Hausfeld pushed the advantage more than 20 points for the first time at 67-44 when he picked up a loose ball and buried another 3-pointer from a few feet behind the arc.
''There can't be a worse feeling in the world (for the defense) when you are making a run and the ball goes loose and it kicks out to him wide open from the top of key. Everybody knew what was going to happen when he got the ball,'' Crutchfield said.
But the play of night might have come on a beautiful kickout pass from West Liberty sophomore guard Cedric Harris to Hausfeld deep in the corner for another 3-pointer late in the first half.
''Cedric got a chance to shoot a layup but he said 'I'm choosing Tim' and that turned out to be a pretty good choice," Crutchfield said. ''In the past, Cedric would have taken that shot but that is called knowing your teammate and making a great play."
Wheeling Jesuit (7-5, 4-3) also had a sparkling effort from one its players, 6-5 senior Marquis Moore. Strong and active throughout the game, Moore scored in 24 points, hitting 11 of 12 field goal attempts, grabbing 11 rebounds and also handing out four assists.
''Marquis is a very good player and is capable of having a game like that,'' Wheeling Jesuit coach Danny Sancomb said. ''He's real strong inside, rebounds well and you also saw that he is a very good passer."
However, Sancomb didn't have much else positive to say about the lackluster effort from his team.
''We did not play hard enough to win or smart enough,'' he said. ''That's why we got beat the way we did.
''I expected to win the game. There was no doubt in my mind that if we played the way we are capable of (playing), we had a chance to do it. I'm disappointed because our energy level was not where we needed it to be.''
Leading West Liberty's well-balanced offense was Alex Falk with 21 points and eight rebounds. Hausfeld followed with 19 points, while C.J. Hester had a big second half, scoring 12 of his 16 points and he also led West Liberty's 49-37 rebounding advantage by collecting 12 missed shots. Harris, the Wheeling Jesuit University transfer playing his first season on the hilltop, had 14 points and seven assists.
Ben Seifert and Gaddy contributed 11 points each to the Cardinals' total, while leading scorer Steve Catich was limited to seven points.
''I thought we played good defense on Catich," Crutchfield said. ''He and Seifert are very hard to guard. Faulk had him (Catich) most of the time but Hester also was on him some. They really focused on not letting him get loose."