Toppers Men Remain No. 2

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The West Liberty University men’s basketball team posted a trio of impressive road victories last week to remain locked in at No. 2 in this week’s NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Top 25 balloting conducted by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (19-1), who lead the nation in scoring offense, extended their nation’s-best winning streak to 17 games to stay hot on the heels of defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Bellarmine, Ky. (18-1).

Tarleton State, Texas (19-1), which leads the nation in scoring defense, moved up to No. 3 after squeezing past No. 11 Midwestern State, Texas while Winona State, Minn. (19-2) and Colorado School of Mines (17-2) round out the top five.

West Liberty blew past the century mark in all three of its road victories last week. The Hilltoppers cruised to a 108-87 victory at Davis & Elkins before hammering Bluefield State, 134-93. West Liberty then battled back from a rare halftime deficit to hold off Concord, 103-98.

This marks the 33nd consecutive week the Hilltoppers have been ranked in the NABC Top 25, the longest run by a WVIAC program since Salem was ranked for an NCAA Division II record 76 straight weeks from 1997 to 2003. West Liberty was the only conference team receiving votes in this week’s poll.

The two-time defending WVIAC champions will be gunning for their eighth consecutive 20-win season under Crutchfield Wednesday night when they return to the friendly confines of the ASRC for a 7:30 p.m. game against Shepherd.