No. 3 West Liberty Rolls Past Pitt-Johnstown - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

No. 3 West Liberty Rolls Past Pitt-Johnstown

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All-American Alex Falk scored 32 points in a dazzling all-around performance and No. 3 West Liberty drained a season-high 17 3-point field goals Thursday night in coasting to a 98-83 victory against Pitt-Johnstown in West Virginia Conference men's basketball action at the UPJ Sports Center.

It was the 12th consecutive victory for Coach Jim Crutchfield's WVIAC champion Hilltoppers (26-1, 20-1), who never trailed in the second half after weathering an early flurry by the host Mountain Cats (14-11, 10-11).
Pitt-Johnstown jumped out to a 16-7 lead in the opening 5 minutes with a Bill Luther 3-pointer capping the hosts' early surge.
West Liberty tied the game, 31-31, on a Cedric Harris 3-pointer at 8:20 of the opening half and went ahead to stay, 34-31, when Falk followed with a 3-pointer of his own as the clock ticked past the 8-minute mark.
Harris, the Hilltoppers' All-Region junior guard, scored 9 quick points at the start of the game but had to leave the floor with an apparent injury midway through the first half and did not return to the court.
West Liberty wound up making 10 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes but some hot shooting of their own helped UPJ keep pace and the Hilltoppers led just 52-48 at intermission after a half that saw each team shoot nearly 60 percent from the floor.
Pitt-Johnstown mounted a few brief surges in the early part of the second half but couldn't get over the hump as West Liberty pulled away. Back to back hoops by Falk gave the visitors their largest lead of the night, 89-74, with 6 minutes to go and WLU maintained a double-digit gap the rest of the way.
Not only did Falk lead all scorers with his 32-point night, he more than made up for Harris's absence by stuffing the stat sheet with 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals – all team-highs. Chris Morrow provided plenty of support with 18 points on a career-high 6 3-pointers. Seger Bonifant and C.J. Hester rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
All-WVIAC senior guard Nick Novak almost single-handedly kept UPJ in the game until the waning minutes, leading the hard-luck Mountain Cats with 27 points. Pitt-Johnstown made 11-of-16 (.689) 3-pointers, shot 30-of-53 (.566) from the floor, went 12-for-13 (.923) from the free throw line – and still lost by 15 points.
The Hilltoppers close out the regular season at home on Saturday with a 4 p.m. game against Wheeling Jesuit.
GAME NOTES
X This was West Liberty's 120th victory in the past four seasons – an average of 30 wins a year
X The NCAA Division II record for wins in four consecutive seasons is 127, set by Kentucky Wesleyan from 1998 to 2001
X Falk soared past the 1,800-point career milestone and ranks 9th on the Hilltoppers' career scoring list with 1,810 points. WLU Hall of Famer Tom Ackerman is No. 8 at 1,834
X West Liberty improved to 136-5 (.965) under Crutchfield when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor – including an 18-0 mark this season