West Liberty Remains at No. 4 in Coaches Poll

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The unbeaten West Liberty University men’s basketball team was ranked No. 4 for the second consecutive week on Tuesday when the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) released its first NCAA Division II Top 25 of the new year.

Coach Ben Howlett’s Hilltoppers (11-0) haven’t played since wrapping up their pre-holiday slate with a 119-82 blowout of the University of the District of Columbia on Dec. 19 at the ASRC. It was the 40th consecutive home win for the Black and Gold, who have compiled an impressive 76-2 mark in November and December games over the past eight seasons.

It also marked the 171st time in the past 10 years that West Liberty has cracked the century mark on the scoreboard. The high-flying Hilltoppers – who once again lead the nation in scoring at 113.0 ppg. – have an eye-popping 164-7 (.960) record in those games.

This week’s No. 4 ranking is the 88th time WLU has been ranked among the nation’s Top Five. It’s also the 118th Top 10 ranking for a program that has been ranked No. 1 nationally at some point in each of the past seven seasons and has appeared in every NABC Top 25 since Feb. 2, 2010.

A slim holiday week schedule produced very little movement in this week’s poll as the top 14 spots remained unchanged. Wheeling Jesuit (9-2) gave the Mountain East Conference two nationally-ranked teams, moving up two spots from No. 21 to No. 19.

Coach Howlett and his Hilltoppers return to action on Thursday with a stiff road test against a much-improved West Virginia State team. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Institute, W.Va.