The No. 3-ranked West Liberty University men's basketball team was expected to have an easy time of it against last-place Ohio Valley and the Hilltoppers more than lived up to expectations Monday night at the ASRC.
West Liberty (21-1, 15-1) came roaring out of the blocks to build a 20-point lead in the first 9 minutes and Coach Jim Crutchfield rested his starters for most of the second half in a 112-55 blowout of the Fighting Scots (3-19, 2-14).
"This was the kind of game you hope for as a coach at this time of year," Crutchfield said. "We brought a lot of early pressure and built a big lead pretty quickly, which gave us a chance to get our high-minute guys a little rest while giving extended minutes to some guys who haven't seen as much time over the last couple of weeks."
The Hilltoppers had blasted OVU, 139-71, in a November game at Vienna and Monday's contest followed much the same script.
West Liberty used an 11-0 run to go up, 11-2 in the first 5 minutes and the issue was never in doubt.
Shawn Dyer's stop-and-pop 3-pointer pushed the count to 35-11 with 10:17 still showing on the first half clock and the Hilltoppers coasted into the locker room with a 65-27 halftime lead.
The song remained the same in the second half. West Liberty passed the century mark and took its biggest lead of the night, 101-42, on a pair of Kelvin Goodwin free throws at the 7:21 mark before coasting home.
Alex Falk led six double-figure scorers for the hosts with a game-high 20 points in just 14 minutes of action. Goodwin added 13 and Keene Cockburn chipped in with 11 while Dyer, Cedric Harris and Seger Bonifant all finished with 10 points each.
Jerry Macon came off the bench with 16 points to pace Ohio Valley, which also got a dozen points from Austin Parker.
West Liberty hits the road on Saturday for a 4 p.m. game at Alderson-Broaddus.
X Fairmont State's 70-65 upset loss to Wheeling Jesuit on Monday night effectively gives West Liberty a 2-game lead with six games remaining in their West Virginia Conference season
X WLU is trying to become the first WVIAC school in nearly four decades to win four consecutive league titles
X Crutchfield improved to 17-0 against the Fighting Scots. The Hilltoppers have won 29 of the 30 meetings between the two programs
X None of West Liberty's starters played more than 17 minutes on Monday
X West Liberty extended its WVIAC home winning streak to 51 games
X The Hilltoppers are 68-2 in their last 70 conference games at the ASRC, dating back to the 2005-06 season