BUCKHANNON - Unbeaten and No. 1-ranked West Liberty shot a blistering 71 percent from the floor in the first half Saturday and cruised to a 108-81 victory at West Virginia Wesleyan.
Coach Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (12-0, 8-0) had their hands full with the scrappy Bobcats (9-6, 4-3) in the early going, but the hosts couldn't find a way to counter West Liberty's deadly accuracy from the field.
After trading leads on several occasions in the early going, the Hilltoppers went ahead to stay Shawn Dyer snapped a 30-30 deadlock with a 3-pointer at 7:46 of the opening half.
File WLU Photo
West Liberty's Cedric Harris, left, scored 17 points Saturday.
That touched off a 10-0 West Liberty run and the visitors went on to take a 49-39 lead into the locker room, having canned 22-of-31 shots from the floor.
Wesleyan managed to get the margin into single digits, 60-51, briefly on a Brett Ervin 3-pointer as the clock ticked past the 16-minute mark in the second half but the Hilltoppers quickly slammed the door.
A pair of Seger Bonifant 3-pointers bookended a 12-0 WLU run over the next 90 seconds and the visitors were in complete command, 72-51, with 14:17 remaining. The Bobcats never threatened again and the lead stretched as high as 31 points in the waning minutes.
West Liberty finished the afternoon at 61 percent (41-of-67) from the floor, 52 percent (11-of-21) from the 3-point arc and 94 percent (15-of-16) from the foul line - all season-highs.
C.J. Hester had game-highs of 18 points and eight rebounds to pace six double-figure scorers for the winners.
Cedric Harris added 17 points and a game-high eight assists with Keene Cockburn contributing 17 points and seven rebounds. Devin Hoehn and Mike Lamberti came off the bench with 13 and 11 points, respectively, and Bonifant chipped in with 10 points.
Taylor Price and Garrett Grantham had 15 points each to lead Wesleyan, which came into the game having won 7 of its last 9 outings.
Glenville State 71, Wheeling Jesuit 70
GLENVILLE, - The Wheeling Jesuit men's basketball team missed a game winning 3-point jump shot with five seconds left, letting a victory slip out of their grasp, and giving Glenville State a victory Saturday.
The Cardinals drop to 6-5 on the season, and sit at .500 in conference play at 4-4 heading into an upcoming six-game home stand.
"We've got to continue to work on our execution, especially late in the game," WJU head coach Danny Sancomb said. "We played hard, but we've got to improve on taking care of the basketball, taking good shots, and making good shot selections."
Leading the Cardinals was Eric Seifert who had a game-high 28 points going 9-12 from the 3-point line. Andre Harris was also a big contributor for the Cards, putting in a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Also in double figures for WJU was Justin Fritts who chipped in with 15 points and seven assists.
The Cardinals jumped out to a nine point lead in the first 12 minutes of the game in large part due to Harris and Siefert who each had 10 first half points. Glenville however would claw their way back to take a 36-31 lead heading into the break.
WJU shot 48 percent from the floor in the second half, and Siefert added 18 more points, but the missed three at the end of the game sailed short, and Glenville hung on to win 71-70.