ELKINS, WV– The No. 3-ranked West Liberty University men’s basketball team got off to a bit of a slow start against Davis & Elkins on Monday night but found its stride quickly, sprinting away to a 108-87 victory at the McDonnell Center. The Senators (4-11, 2-11) jumped on the Black-and-Gold at the opening tip and bolted out to a 10-1 lead before the game was three minutes old. After weathering the initial storm, Coach Jim Crutchfield’s Hilltoppers (17-1, 12-0) found the up-tempo pace very much to their liking and came roaring back. A Keene Cockburn 3-pointer put West Liberty ahead to stay, 16-15, at the 14-minute mark and the Hilltoppers kept right on rolling. Chris Morrow finally capped an eye-popping 27-7 run with a net-splashing 3-pointer from the top of the key that gave WLU its first double-digit lead of the night, 28-17, with 11 minutes still remaining in the opening half. The Hilltoppers went on to lead by as many as 16 points in the first half before settling for a 51-41 advantage at intermission.
A 12-0 surge early in the second half put the game out of reach and West Liberty led by as many as 28 points down the stretch en route to its 15th straight win. The Black-and-Gold shot a sizzling 55 percent (38-of-69) from the floor – including a 15-of-30 showing from behind the 3-point arc – and went 17-of-20 from the charity stripe. The Hilltoppers were charted with 29 assists and committed a season-low 4 turnovers. Cedric Harris led the balanced WLU attack with 23 points while Alex Falk added 18 and C.J. Hester chipped in with 14. Morrow finished with 11 points and 7 assists while Cockburn rounded out the double figure scorers with 11 points. Ian Pinckney led all scorers for D&E with 24 points. D’Quan Lynch and Malik Tinsley checked in with 23 and 21 points, respectively. West Liberty heads back out on the road Thursday night with a long trip to Bluefield State for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff. GAME NOTES X The Hilltoppers extended their WVIAC-record conference winning streak to 52 games and are now 62-1 in their last 63 league contests X West Liberty improved to 73-29 all-time against Davis & Elkins. Crutchfield is 9-0 against the Senators X With Alderson-Broaddus’s loss to Wheeling Jesuit Monday night, the two-time defending WVIAC champion Hilltoppers now own a two-game lead in this year’s race