No. 1-ranked West Liberty roared back from a 17-point first-half deficit to hand upset-minded Concord a 97-92 loss Saturday afternoon at the ASRC.
Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (9-0, 5-0) took the best shot the
Mountain Lions (5-6, 2-3) had to offer in the early going before
answering with some pretty good shooters of their own.
3-pointers by Concord's B.J. Hamlet – his fourth and fifth 3-pointers
of the opening half – pushed the hot-shooting Mountain Lions out to a
surprising 41-24 lead with 9:13 still to play in the first half but West Liberty didn't panic.
Concord credit," Crutchfield said. "They're a very talented basketball
team that came in here with a good game plan. They played hard, beat our
press a few times and shot the ball very well but we kept the pressure
on and things started to go our way."
guards Seger Bonifant and Kelvin Goodwin had a lot to do with that as
their sizzling shooting from the perimeter fueled the Hilltopper
Bonifant and Goodwin raining 3-pointers from the perimeter, the
Hilltoppers responded with a 23-4 blitz over the next seven minutes.
A Bonifant 3-pointer capped the run and gave WLU its first lead of the day, 47-45, with 2:38 on the first half clock en route to a 56-51 halftime lead.
and Goodwin were each 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point arc in the first
half. That was no accident, according to Crutchfield.
always talk about how they love to see kids come out and shoot on their
own," Crutchfield said. "Kelvin and Seger are always in here shooting.
They were here an hour before the game today putting up shots with
nobody around. They're both great shooters but they're great shooters
because of how hard they work at it."
Hilltoppers led by as many as 10 points in the second half but were
never quite able to put the pesky visitors away as Concord pulled within
two points on several occasions down the stretch.
Mountain Lions cut the gap to 95-92 on a Mike Boyd free throw with 25
seconds left but Shawn Dyer made both ends of a 1-and-1 to restore the
Hilltoppers' 5-point lead and rebounded a missed Concord 3-pointer at
the other end to put the game on ice.
was our first game back from the break and it showed a little bit,"
Crutchfield said. "We made some mistakes we normally don't make but like
I told our guys after the game, this is what conference basketball is
in the league has talented players who can shoot the ball and also run,
jump, dunk and defend so if you don't play well, you're going to lose.
Today, I thought we played just well enough to win and there's a lesson
there for us."
led all scorers with 26 points while pulling down 9 rebounds. Goodwin
backed him with 17 points while C.J. Hester added 15 points and 8
boards. Cedric Harris and Keene Cockburn rounded out the double-figure
scorers with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Terry Hopewell's double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds paced four double-figure scorers for Concord.
West Liberty returns to MEC action Monday night when the Hilltoppers host UVA-Wise. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the ASRC.