Records Shattered In West Liberty Rout

Monteroso ties career-high with 40 points

Photo Provided by West Liberty West Liberty’s Dalton Bolon blocks out a West Virginia State defender during action Friday in the Mountain East Tournament.

CHARLESTON — They say records are made to be broken — or tied. West Liberty and West Virginia State’s men’s basketball teams took that literally Friday night at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.

Dan Monteroso tied a career-high with 40 points and the teams combined to break or tie 19 Mountain East Conference Tournament marks in the No. 1-seeded Hilltoppers’ 133-106 quarterfinal victory. West Liberty (26-2) will face Charleston at 6:15 tonight with a berth in the finals riding on the outcome.

“I’m proud of the way we played, but we’ve got less than 24 hours to enjoy this,” Hilltoppers coach Ben Howlett said. “The first half was really good basketball … high-level basketball with lots of intensity.

“In the second half, you guys know what happened. It seemed like every time the game started to get into a rhythm there was a foul called.”

The fouls — an unofficial record of 65 — were only part of the story.

Here’s a look at the marks that were set.

∫ Team Points: 133 (West Liberty), breaking the record of 110 set by State two days prior.

∫ Most Points Half: 78 (West Liberty), breaking Wheeling Jesuit’s 2014 record of 62.

∫ Most Points Both Teams: 239, breaking record of 200 set by West Liberty (105) and Wheeling Jesuit (95) last season.

∫ Field Goals in a Game: 41 (West Liberty), breaking previous record of 39 which was set by WLU and WJU in 2014.

∫ Field Goals in a Game, Both Teams: 74, eclipsing mark of 71 by WLU and WJU last season.

∫ Field-Goal Attempts: 91 (West Liberty), which breaks record of 87 set by the Hilltoppers in 2016.

∫ Three-Point Goals: 15 (West Liberty), which ties the record previously shared by Charleston (2014) and Fairmont (2017).

∫ Most Free Throws Made: 36 (West Liberty) and 33 (W.Va. State), breaking the old mark of 31 set by Charleston in 2016.

∫ Free Throws Made, Both Teams: 69, which shatters record of 45 that was set in 2016 by WLU and Glenville.

∫ Free-Throw Attempts: 48 (West Liberty), which beats the 2016 record of 44 set by Charleston.

∫ Most Combined Free Throws: 91, shattering the 2016 record of 62 shared by West Liberty and Glenville.

∫ Most Steals in a Game: 17 (West Liberty), which breaks its own mark of 15 set in 2015.

∫ Most Steals, Both Teams: 27, eclipsing record of 23 which was done twice, most recently by WLU and Shepherd in 2015.

∫ Blocked Shots, Game: 10 (W.Va. State), breaking the marks of Notre Dame (2014) and Fairmont (2017).

∫ Blocked Shots, Combined: 15, which was done four times.

∫ Most free throws made: 18 (Monteroso), beating the record (16) previously held by Notre Dame’s Tyree Gaiter.

∫ Free Throws Attempted: 19 (Monteroso), which broke the mark of UVa.-Wise’s Charles George (16).

“I did not know I had tied my career high,” Monteroso said. “I really don’t pay attention to the individual stuff.

“This was a great team win.”

Monteroso had 26 points in the first half, but thanks to getting to the line at an alarming rate, W.Va. State was only down 55-45.

However, to start the second half the Hilltoppers went on one of their trademark blackouts, scoring 12 straight points in a matter of roughly a minute and a half to take a 67-45 lead.

“Those runs they go on are mentally defeating,” Yellow Jackets (13-16) coach Bryan Poore said. “What they do with that pressure is not only physically exhausting, but mentally as well.

“They’re constantly coming after you and that takes a toll.”

It began to take a toll on the scoreboard, as well. West Liberty kept coming, leading by as many as 31 points down the stretch.

“It’s a lot more fun when teams try to play our game,” MEC Freshman of the Year Dalton Bolon said. “We play that style all the time, even in open gym.”

The Hilltoppers switched up the starting lineup, inserting another freshman in Keegan Saben. The move paid dividends.

“He has practiced really well lately and Keegan has a little bit of crazy in him,” Howlett said. “When he gets into the game, it becomes pandemonium.

“You’ve got to have a little bit of crazy in you with the style we play, though.”

Saben didn’t score much (three points), but he had five rebounds, five assists and didn’t turn the ball over before fouling out after 18 minutes.

Bolon started slow before heating up in the second half to finish with 20 points — including five 3-pointers — and seven rebounds. Jordan Watson came off the bench to net 17 points, and James Griffin did the same while scoring 14 points and ripping down a team-leading nine rebounds. Eric Meininger tallied 12 points and Nate Allen had 10 to round out six double-digit scorers for WLU.

“Give West Liberty credit. They are an extremely good team and that is the level we are striving to get to as a program,” Poore said. “I truly think our program is going to head to where it once was.

“Remember, before West Liberty there was West Virginia State. They took the mantle from us and have done an incredible job with it.”

The Yellow Jackets were led by 33 points from Pat Johnson-Agwu. Robert Fomby recorded a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Langston Cooke scored 21 and Glen Abram added 11.

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