Unbeaten and No. 1-ranked West Liberty shot nearly 70 percent from the floor in the second half here Monday night in blasting UVA-Wise, 113-82, in a Mountain East Conference clash at the Prior Center.
Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (11-0, 6-0) never trailed but the host Cavaliers (1-10, 0-6) were able to keep things interesting for the first 20 minutes.
Jordan Smith’s 3-pointer from the corner cut West Liberty’s lead to single digits just before the halftime horn and sent UVA-Wise into the locker room trailing the nation’s No. 1-ranked team by just a 52-43 margin.
The second half was all Hilltoppers, however, as West Liberty needed just over 5 minutes to push the lead out to 20 points – 68-48 on a conventional 3-point play by Joe Lococo with 14:42 to play.
That came in the midst of an 18-0 WLU run that turned a 62-48 advantage into an insurmountable 80-48 lead in a 4-minute span. Freshman guard Brady Arnold scored the last 7 points of the surge, capping the streak with a rainbow 3-pointer at the 11:45 mark.
Despite liberal substitutions throughout the second half, the Hilltoppers led by as many as 35 points down the stretch.
C.J. Hester led all scorers with 23 points while Indiana Faithfull stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, 6 assists and 5 steals. National scoring leader Seger Bonifant finished with 20 points and 5 assists with Zac Grossenbacher coming off the bench with 13 points.
Matt Day and Philip Owens paced UVA-Wise with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
The Hilltoppers return home to host Shepherd on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the ASRC.