MEN’S BASKETBALL: Toppers Put Up 139 Points

WEST LIBERTY – The No. 4-ranked West Liberty University men’s basketball team exploded for a season-high 139 points Saturday afternoon in routing Bluefield State, 139-74, at the ASRC.

Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (14-1, 9-0 West Virginia Conference) placed eight players in double figures and shot better than 60 percent from the floor in the second half in winning their 12th straight game.

”The thing that really stood out to me was how well we shared the basketball,” Crutchfield said. ”Even though we had pretty good control of the game, the guys kept playing hard and making the extra pass which created a lot of really good looks for us.”

West Liberty needed less than 5 minutes to push out to a double-digit lead against the outgunned Big Blues (1-11, 0-9) and never looked back in sprinting off to a 71-43 halftime advantage.

The Hilltoppers struggled from the perimeter in the early going, making just 3 of 14 shots from behind the 3-point arc in the first half.

The hosts found the range in the second 20 minutes, hitting 9 of 15 second-half 3-pointers to turn the romp into a rout.

Freshman C.J. Hester led West Liberty with a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season while junior Alex Falk weighed in with 23 points.

Nick Brown came off the bench with 17 points and Cedric Harris added 15 points to go along with a game-high nine assists. Chris Morrow had his fourth double-double of the year – 14 points and 10 rebounds – while Keene Cockburn (13 points), Mike Lopez (12 points) and Shawn Dyer (10 points) rounded out the double-figure scorers.

Johnny Uhegwu led Bluefield State with 22 points while Roy Cooper added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

”This was a good game for us,” Crutchfield said. ”We were able to get everybody a lot of playing time and when the second unit came in, they just picked up where the other guys had left off and extended the lead.

”We’ve had some injury problems this year but for the most part we’ve had guys step up and answer the bell for us like they did (Saturday). That’s really going to be important for us as we get into the conference grind.”

The Hilltoppers host Seton Hill Tuesday night. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the ASRC.

Wheeling Jesuit 92, Concord 80

WHEELING – Steve Catich scored 22 points as Wheeling Jesuit beat Concord. Recardo Gaddy and Josh Valentic added 18 and 11 points, respectively, for the Cardinals.

Javaugh Manuel had a game-high 35 points for Concord.

Miami Hamilton 67, OUE 66

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – OUE led at hafltime but couldn’t hang in a loss to Miami Hamilton

Jason Shaw paced the Panthers (8-6, 5-6) with 18 points, followed by Jordan Barbina with 14 and Adam Perzanowski with 10.

Bethany 76, Westminster 66

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Junior forward Nick Wilcox scored a game-high 21 points and junior James Barton dropped in 15 of his 20 in the second half as the Bethany fended off an upset-minded Westminster squad.

Bethany (14-2, 6-1 PAC) controlled much of the first half, racing out to a 19-7 lead to start the game and the margin expanded to 30-17 on a pair of foul shots by Wilcox with 6:20 left. Westminster heated up from the arc to close the first half to trim the deficit to four before a lay-up from BC junior Reece Mabery just before the halftime horn made it a 37-31 Bethany lead at the break.

The Titans made several runs at the Bison in the second half, but the Green and White answered back each time to keep the home team at bay. After Westminster moved within three, Bison junior Brady Pacific hit a lay-up. A couple minutes later when the Titans were within a bucket, Barton cashed in a three to start a 12-4 spurt that took the Bethany lead to 59-49 with 7:28 to go.

Wetminster made one more push to get back into the game. They were within three on two occasions in the final four minutes and had a good look at a tying trey with 1:21 to go, but it was off the mark. Bethany answered with a Barton trifecta and then cinched up their ninth straight victory against Westminster by going 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 31 seconds.

Senior British Alexander recorded his fourth double-double of the year with 16 points and 13 boards and Mabery finished 6-for-6 from the foul line and totaled 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.