C.J. Hester scored his 1,000th career point and Seger Bonifant poured in a career-high 28 points Thursday night as the No. 1-ranked West Liberty University men's basketball team sprinted to a 125-103 win at Notre Dame (OH).
Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (6-0, 3-0), who took over the top spot in
the NCAA Division II national coaches' poll earlier this week, had
their hands full in the early going as the upset-minded Falcons (2-5,
1-2) came out with all guns blazing.
Dame found some success throwing over the top of West Liberty's vaunted
full-court pressing defense, scoring 17 of 21 points at one juncture to
take a 29-18 lead on a Lawrence DeArmond run out layup at 11:56 of the opening half.
elected to stay with the high-pressure defense and it began to pay
dividends as the Hilltoppers took advantage of several Falcon turnovers
to fight their way back.
baskets by Shawn Dyer and Devin Hoehn – each coming off NDC turnovers
in the backcourt – put West Liberty on top, 35-34, with 7:35 left until halftime.
A 3-point play by Notre Dame's Tyree Gaiter gave the hosts their final lead of the night, 40-38, at the 6:20 mark but Cedric Harris fed Hoehn for consecutive 3-point bombs in a 20-second span and the Hilltoppers were on their way.
its slow start, West Liberty scorched the twine for a staggering 42
points in the last 9 minutes of the first half to take a 67-53 lead into
the locker room at intermission. The Falcons couldn't get the deficit
into single digits the rest of the night and the Hilltoppers led by as
many as 23 points down the stretch in closing out the win.
torched Notre Dame for 21 of his 28 points in the second half but the
sharp-shooting sophomore had plenty of support with seven West Liberty
players hitting double figures.
became the 44th 1,000-point scorer in school history in the first five
minutes but turned in a full night's work with 23 points and a
season-high 15 rebounds for his 26th career double-double.
also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Keene
Cockburn just missed one with 13 points and 9 boards. Kelvin Goodwin and
Devin Hoehn added 15 and 13 points off the bench, respectively, while
Harris finished with 12 points and a game-high 8 assists.
led all scorers with 29 points for the Falcons. Lawrence DeArmond added
26 points while Jarvis Huntley had 22 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists
in a losing cause.
The Hilltoppers return home to host Urbana on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the ASRC.