No. 8 West Liberty Blows By Bowie State, 108-85

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WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – The No. 8-ranked West Liberty University men’s basketball team cruised to its seventh straight win here Monday, breezing past Bowie State (Md.) by a 108-85 count inside the ASRC.

    Coach Ben Howlett’s Hilltoppers (11-1) wrapped things up early, forcing the Bulldogs (3-9) into 21 first-half turnovers while sprinting out to a 61-38 lead at intermission.

    The nationally-ranked hosts led by as many as 30 points in the second half in wrapping up an unbeaten run through their six non-conference opponents.

    “I expected a little rust tonight after the long layoff,” Howlett said, “and I saw some of that. We played pretty well at times, especially in the first half, but we also had some stretches where we didn’t play very well at all.

    “Nevertheless, after not playing for a couple of weeks, it’s good to get another in-region win,” Howlett said. “I’m glad we were able to get this game under our belts before getting back into (Mountain East) conference play. We’ll need to correct those mistakes and play better on Wednesday against Concord.”

    West Liberty, which led for all but 10 seconds of the Monday afternoon contest, opened up a double-digit lead, 30-20, on a transition 3-pointer by Garrett Denbow just past the 10-minute mark of the first half and stayed in control the rest of the way.

    Any thoughts of a Bowie State rally faded when the Hilltoppers scored 11 points in the final minute of the first half to turn a commanding 50-34 lead into an insurmountable 61-38 advantage at the break.

    Pat Robinson led all scorers with a game-high 21 points to go along with 3 assists and 3 steals as seven West Liberty players reached double-figures in the scoring column.

    Malik McKinney and Bryce Butler each finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds while Viktor Kovacevic added 13 points. Denbow and Ben Sarson tossed in a dozen each with Marlon Moore adding 11 points and 6 rebounds off the bench.

    David McCullough had 16 points to lead four double-figure scorers for Bowie State.

    The Hilltoppers return to MEC action on Wednesday when they host Concord in a 7:30 p.m. tipoff inside the ASRC.

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