The No. 7-ranked West Liberty University men’s basketball team celebrated Senior Night with its 10th straight win , rolling to a 97-81 victory against Glenville State at the ASRC.
Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (24-2, 19-2) had only two seniors to honor in their final regular-season home game but C.J. Hester and Indiana Faithfull certainly did their part to make it a memorable night.
Hester, the school’s all-time rebounding leader, grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds to go over 1,100 rebounds for his career and added 17 points for the 39th double-double of his career.
Faithfull, who transferred to WLU this season from NCAA Division I Wofford, finished with 7 points and 4 assists while acting as a disruptive force on defense with a season-high 6 steals.
“It’s probably fitting that C.J. would pull a season-high rebounds on Senior Night,” Crutchfield said. “He’s been a tremendous competitor since the first day he stepped on campus. We’ve only had Indy for one year but he’s blended in extremely well. He has a knack for getting into passing lanes and does a great job getting into gaps and finding guys with the ball.
“We’re ranked No. 1 in the region right now and the guys know if we keep winning and finish No. 1, we’ll get to host the regional tournament. I guess C.J. and Indy didn’t want this to be their last game on this floor.”
Leading 46-38 at intermission, the Hilltoppers scored 15 of the first 21 points in the second half to push the margin out to 61-44 with just under 16 minutes to play and Glenville never recovered.
West Liberty led by as many as 19 points down the stretch and the lead never dropped out of double-digits.
“The first four minutes of the second half were the difference tonight,” Crutchfield said. “We ran some good offense and got a couple of easy baskets inside which enabled us to create some separation.”
Seger Bonifant was the Hilltoppers’ leading scorer, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts to finish with 23 points. Joe Lococo weighed in with 12 points, 6 rebounds and a game-high 5 assists while Zac Grossenbacher came off the bench to score 14 points and a crowd-pleasing 5 blocked shots.
“Grossenbacher had a huge game tonight,” Crutchfield said. “He’s giving us a little bit of a presence in the paint and he also hit some big shots for us.”
Reggie Williams had a game-high 26 points to pace the Pioneers while Sedric Nady added 18 and Donte Morales finished with 10.
West Liberty closes out the regular season at Wheeling Jesuit. Tipoff is set for at the McDonough Center.
X C.J. Hester tied Alex Falk’s school record by playing in his 128th career game
X Seger Bonifant passed John Wolosinczuk to take over 4th place among West Liberty’s career 3-point leader with his 244th bonus bomb
X West Liberty shot 50 percent or better for the sixth consecutive game
X The Hilltoppers have won 94 consecutive games when shooting 50 percent or better, including a perfect 15-0 mark this season
X West Liberty is 94-2 over the past four seasons when scoring 90 or more points