Toppers Throttle Jackets

WEST LIBERTY – How bad were things for West Virginia State on Tuesday night at the ASRC?

Well, the Yellowjackets failed to reach 60 in a 119-59 loss to West Liberty, marking the fewest points the Hilltoppers have given up in a game since March 4, 2010.

But that’s not really the worst of it.

They played WLU even at 16-16 through the first 6:51 -a feat in itself – then watched the Hilltoppers rattle off 24 of the next 26 points, technically.

In reality, the Hilltoppers scored them all during the 4-minute, 40-second spurt, as David Ford was credited with a basket that was actually tipped in by West Liberty’s Chris Morrow on the defensive end. They went nearly five full minutes without scoring one of their own baskets as the Hilltoppers (7-0 overall, 3-0 WVC) kept a foot on the gas and rolled to a 60-point victory, their highest margin of victory since … the last time they played when they beat Ohio Valley 139-71 last Thursday night.

This was a State team that had to have been feeling pretty good about itself going in, having rallied from 11 down to beat Wheeling Jesuit, 77-76 on Saturday.

After playing the Hilltoppers and recording one assist and turning it over 26 times, that smile has been turned upside down.

”I told the team in the locker room, ‘that’s actually a good basketball team,” ‘ West Liberty coach Jim Crutchfield said of the Yellowjackets (4-4, 2-2). ” ‘You made them not look like a good basketball team. That’s a credit to you guys.”

They did it by making State work extraordinary hard on the offensive end just to get to 59.

When the Yellowjackets were on defense, forget it. The Hilltoppers barely broke a sweat in shooting 62.5 percent from everywhere, and 82 percent inside the 3-point arc (30 of 48).

West Liberty rarely misses in a layup line, particularly when Cedric Harris (15 points, 11 assists) is putting everything on a tee.

”I think he’s feeling more comfortable in our system,” Crutchfield said. ”He’s doing what’s available.”

Of course, Harris, who played a team-best 22 minutes, was hardly alone. Six players scored in double figures, led by 17 apiece from Alex Falk and Bubby Goodwin. C.J. Hester had a double-double of his own with 10 points and 10 boards, while Morrow (13 points), and Keen Cockburn (15) joined the party.

”I thought they shared the ball extremely well,” Crutchfield said. ”It was obvious nobody cared who put the points up.”

In the end, everyone on the roster played at least 10 minutes, some of the minutes more valuable than it would appear, and all but one player scored at least four points.

As is customary, the Hilltoppers pressed from the opening tip. Even as the Yellowjackets were weathering the storm early, Crutchfield figured it wouldn’t be long.

”I don’t think the pressure ever really subsided in the first half,” he said. ”Even when it was close early on I thought ‘just keep the heat on and see if it takes a toll on them.”

It did. At halftime, State had 14 turnovers – and zero assists.

”Just a different feel of the game,” Crutchfield said. ”The offense got easier then.”

Ford’s 20 points led W.Va. State, as he was the only player in double figures for a team that shot 34.9 percent from the floor.


West Liberty 71

W.Va. State 64

WEST LIBERTY – The West Liberty University women sprinted out to a big second-half lead and held off a late West Virginia State surge down the stretch to hand the Yellowjackets their first loss.

Hillary Southworth scored a game-high 23 points while Jenn Mohney and Meghan Wiseman added 15 and 14 points, respectively, as the Hilltoppers (5-2, 3-0) won for the fifth time in their last six games.

OU-Eastern 68

OSU Newark 60

NEWARK, Ohio – Ohio University Eastern used a strong second half and Alex Kuhn was a perfect 6-for-6 at free-throw line down the stretch in a victory against rival OSU Newark.

Kuhn paced the Seminoles with 25 points. Kelsey Holloway added 22 points for the Panthers (6-2, 3-0 ORCC).