No. 4 West Liberty Sprints Past Bobcats
WEST LIBERTY — Frostburg State scored the first two points but unbeaten and No. 4-ranked West Liberty reeled off the next 19 points in a 3-minute blitz and kept right on rolling to a 134-72 blowout victory Saturday afternoon inside the ASRC.
It was the fourth double-digit win in as many outings for Coach Ben Howlett’s high-flying Hilltoppers (4-0) as they moved to 9-0 all-time against the visiting Bobcats (1-2).
A Dalton Bolon jumper forged the only tie of the game, 2-2, as the clock ticked past the 19-minute mark but the scoring pace picked up precipitously the rest of the way — at least on WLU’s side of the scoreboard.
Marlon Moore Jr. splashed home a pair of free throws to cap the Hilltoppers’ blurry-fast 19-0 run with 15:48 still to play in the first half. The Hilltoppers had opened up a 43-14 bulge by the 10-minute mark and cruised into halftime with an insurmountable 79-36 advantage.
“I thought we came out and played high-level basketball right from the jump,” Howlett said. “This is the best we’ve played all season long.
“The first 10 minutes was great. We were sharing the basketball, passing at a high level, finding the open man. When our guys get their feet set and they’re open, they’re usually going to make the shot and that’s exactly what happened.”
West Liberty shot a blistering 58 percent (45 of 78) from the floor, 44 percent (14 of 32) from the 3-point arc and 91 percent (30 of 33) from the foul line.
Pat Robinson III led seven double-figure scorers for the hosts with a season-high 26 points, including a 4-for-4 showing from the 3-point arc. Will Yoakum knocked down 23 points while Bolon checked off a few boxes with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
Bryce Butler weighed in with 16 points and 8 rebounds while Malik McKinney and Zach Rasile each finished with a dozen tallies. Owen Hazelbaker hit double-figures again with 11 points.
Senior point guard Luke Dyer — who led the nation in Assist/Turnover Ratio a year ago — had a season-high 8 assists to match against zero turnovers as the well-oiled WLU scoring machine was charted with a season-high 31 assists on 45 field goals.
No. 21 Fairmont St. 95 Wheeling 60
WHEELING — The Wheeling University men’s basketball team was dealt a loss by No. 21 Fairmont State Saturday afternoon inside the McDonough Center.
The Cardinals drop to 0-2 overall, while the Falcons improve to 3-1 on the season.
Senior guard Jordan Reid registered a double-double with 21 point and 11 rebounds. Junior guard Jay Gentry finished with 15 points, while senior guard Jarett Haines chipped in 14 in the loss.
Fairmont State raced out to a 17-2 lead six minutes into the game with the help of a full-court pressure defense that upset the rhythm of the Cardinal offense.
The Cardinals started to put things together on the offensive side and sliced the deficit down to 10, 29-19, on a basket-and-one by Gentry with 5:52 left in the first half.
Fairmont State quickly rebuilt its lead to 21 points four minutes later and eventually took a 45-28 lead into halftime.
The Cardinals were unable to get any closer than 16, 53-37, with 16:50 remaining in the game. Fairmont State led by at least 20 points for the final 12 minutes of the contest and cruised to the win.
Fairmont State’s hot shotting spurred it on to the win. The Falcons were 33 of 61 (54 percent), including 11-of-21 (52 percent) from three-point territory. Wheeling only converted 21-of-67 (31 percent) and were just 2-of-17 (12 percent) shooting beyond-the-arc.
Wheeling was playing its first game since January 7 after pausing team activities and postponing two contests.