No. 1 West Liberty Smokes Notre Dame - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

No. 1 West Liberty Smokes Notre Dame

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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).

Coach 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.
Notre 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.
Crutchfield 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.
Back-to-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.
After 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.
Bonifant 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.
Hester 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.
Dyer 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.
Gaiter 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.