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Another Runaway Win For No. 4 West Liberty

RALEIGH, N.C. – The No. 4-ranked West Liberty University men’s basketball team completed a scorching run through the MEC/PSAC Challenge here Sunday by racing away to a 132-85 victory against host Shaw (N.C.) at historic C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium.

Coach Ben Howlett’s Hilltoppers (2-0) took control early by reeling off 16 unanswered points in a three-minute span and were never threatened in posting their second blowout win in as many days.

The Bears (1-1) kept things close for the first few minutes. An Imani Miller jumper pulled the hosts within a single point, 11-10, at 14:15 of the opening half but Shaw missed its next six shots and West Liberty took full advantage.

A 3-point bomb from Pat Robinson III ignited the surge as the clock ticked past the 14-minute mark and when Dalton Bolon bookended the WLU blitz with a 3-pointer of his own at 10:58, the Hilltoppers had opened up a 27-10 advantage and were well on their way.

Will Yoakum capped the first half with a rim-rattling dunk for a 69-36 West Liberty lead at intermission and the Hilltoppers hit the century mark, 100-61, on another Robinson bonus bomb with more than 12 minutes remaining in regulation.

No Hilltopper starter played more than 18 minutes but the margin never dropped below 40 points over the final 10 minutes of the game.

West Liberty shot nearly 60 percent from the floor (51-of-87) and went 16-of-34 (47 percent) from the 3-point arc and dominated the glass at both ends with a 53-29 rebounding advantage.

Every Hilltopper in uniform hit the scoring column for the second straight game with six players reaching double figures.

Robinson, a sophomore transfer from Holy Family (Pa.), came off the bench to score a team-high 22 points in just 23 minutes of action. Bolon hit 4 3-pointers and finished with 20 points while Marlon Moore Jr. went 7-for-8 from the floor — 3-for-3 from the 3-point arc — to add 18 points.

Preston Boswell and Yoakum donated 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Malik McKinney, a sophomore transfer from Seton Hill (Pa.) contributed a dozen points and 5 assists. Boswell’s 15 points put him over the 1,000-point mark for his career. The New Martinsville native played his first two seasons at Wheeling.

Shaw got a game-high 25 points from Dhashon Dashon to pace four double-figure scorers.

The Hilltoppers will be idle this week but hit the road again on Saturday for a Top 25 showdown at No. 22-ranked Daemen (N.Y.). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Wildcats’ Lumsden Gymnasium in Amherst, N.Y.

SOCCER

MEN

Wheeling 2, West Liberty 1

WHEELING — The West Liberty University men’s soccer team wrapped up the 2019 season with a 2-1 loss at Ohio County rival Wheeling.

Tom Humphreys banged home a late goal for Coach Sean Regan’s Hilltoppers (3-14-1, 3-12-1) but they couldn’t come up with the equalizer down the stretch as the Cardinals (3-15-0, 2-14-0) held on to earn a split in the season series.

West Liberty had prevailed by an identical 2-1 score in last month’s initial encounter at the West Family Athletic Complex.

Wheeling drew first blood midway through the opening half when Adam Pannebaker knocked in his own rebound off a save by WLU keeper Noah Underwood in the 26th minute.

The hosts maintained that narrow advantage for the remainder of the half before tacking on what proved to be a crucial insurance goal in the 62nd minute.

Wheeling was awarded a direct kick following a Hilltopper foul 35 yards out from goal but the Cardinals’ Andres Caceres was able to find the top left corner from distance for a 2-0 lead.

WOMEN

West Libert 1, Wheeling 0

WHEELING — Seniors Nikki Lolua and Layne Hartnell wrapped up their West Liberty women’s soccer career on a high note, teaming up for the game’s only goal.

The season-ending victory completed a season sweep of the county rivalry for Coach Barry Christmas’s Hilltoppers (5-9-4, 5-6-4), who had breezed to a 4-2 win against the Cardinals (0-18-0, 0-14-0) in their initial meeting early last month.

The West Liberty women dominated play throughout the match on Sunday but couldn’t remove the goose egg from their side of the scoreboard until the 72nd minute when Lolua finished off an assist from Hartnell to put the Hilltoppers ahead to stay.

It was the second straight game-winning goal for Lolua, who had scored in the opening minute of Wednesday’s match at Davis & Elkins.

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