Dame (OH) used a 16-0 run to take the lead midway through the second
half and held on down the stretch to hand No. 1-ranked West Liberty its
first loss of the season, 89-87, Thursday night before a stunned crowd at the ASRC.
Hilltoppers (16-1, 12-1) had a chance to pull it out at the end but
Shawn Dyer's potential game-winning 3-pointer rimmed out as waning
seconds ticked off the clock. The horn sounded during the scramble for
the rebound, ending West Liberty's 60-game home conference winning
that shot had dropped at the end, we'd probably be having a different
conversation," head coach Jim Crutchfield said, "but whether Shawn's
last-second shot goes in or not, it wouldn't have changed the way we
played for the first 39 minutes and 59 seconds.
good teams have bad shooting nights, they make enough defensive stops
at the other end to still come out with the win," head coach Jim
Crutchfield said. "We didn't do that tonight."
Falcons (7-11, 5-7) came out with all guns blazing and led for most of
the first half, pulling out to a 9-point advantage, 41-32, on a free
throw by Kalomo Figueroa-Jackson with 4:46 left in the half.
Hoehn answered with a 12-foot jumper and followed up with a 3-pointer
to spark one of the Hilltoppers' patented scoring blitzes.
Liberty outscored Notre Dame, 25-6, over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the
opening half to take a 57-47 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Hoehn accounted for 15 of the 25 points.
teams struggled during the first 5 minutes of the second half,
squandering numerous scoring opportunities and trading turnovers more
frequently than baskets.
easy to look at the final few possessions of a one-possession game,"
Crutchfield said, "but if this game was lost anywhere, it was lost in
the first 5 or 6 minutes of the second half.
had a double-digit lead and several chances to really open things up
but we missed a lot of quality shots, didn't rebound and gave up too
many easy transition baskets."
Trailing 65-57 with 14:32 remaining, the Falcons' Lawrence DeArmond ignited what proved to be the key sequence of the night.
rangy guard cashed in a conventional 3-point play and followed up with a
fast break layup to make it 65-62 as the clock ticked past the
14-minute mark. Figueroa-Jackson finished off another fast break,
cutting the margin to 65-64, before DeArmond shook loose in transition
again to put Notre Dame ahead to stay, 66-65, with 12:48 on the clock.
Falcons eventually turned their 8-point deficit into an 8-point lead,
73-65, when Tyree Gaiter beat everybody down the floor for a fast break
layup that capped a 16-0 Notre Dame run with 11:07 to play.
Liberty cut the lead to one or two points on several occasions down the
stretch but the visitors were able to come up with enough crucial hoops
to keep the Hilltoppers at bay.
"I thought we were getting a little sloppy in practice yesterday
and we talked about that," Crutchfield said. "The most important thing
on defense is having a strong desire to keep the other guy from scoring.
I didn't see enough of that tonight. You can't expect to just outscore
people every night."
Coming off a school-record 30 3-pointers in a win at Urbana on Saturday, West Liberty made just 11-of-39 shots from behind the arc Thursday night – including a paltry 4-of-19 in the second half.
and Cedric Harris led the Hilltoppers with 21 points each. Keene
Cockburn added 13 points, Seger Bonifant chipped in with 11 and C.J.
Hester posted a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13
had 27 points and a dozen rebounds for the Falcons, who also got 23
points and 7 assists from Gaiter to go along with 19 points from Jarvis
West Liberty will try to bounce back on Saturday when the Hilltoppers host second-place Charleston (13-4, 10-3) in a key Mountain East Conference showdown. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the ASRC.