Local and Regional Sports

Local and Regional Sports

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West Liberty Men Advance To Atlantic Region Hoops Semifinal

Updated: Saturday, March 15 2014, 05:39 PM EDT

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. – The No. 7-ranked West Liberty University men’s basketball team bolted out to a 15-point lead in the first 10 minutes and led by as many as 22 points in the second half Saturday before coasting to an 88-72 win against Glenville State in an NCAA Division II Atlantic Region quarterfinal at Koehler Fieldhouse.
       Coach Jim Crutchfield’s No. 2-seeded Hilltoppers (27-3) will take on No. 3 seed Indiana, Pa. (24-4) Sunday at 5 p.m. in the regional semifinal. The No. 15-ranked Vulcans outlasted West Chester, 75-68, in Saturday’s first quarterfinal.

 West Liberty had rolled to a pair of double-digit wins against the Pioneers (18-11) during the regular season and had little trouble finishing off the hat trick.
The teams traded hoops for the first few minutes but it didn’t take long for the Hilltoppers’ full-court pressure to turn momentum in favor of the 3-time defending regional champions.

 Donte Morales gave Glenville its final lead of the day, 6-5, on a 3-pointer with 16:47 showing on the first half clock.

 After a Seger Bonifant 10-footer put WLU ahead to stay, 7-6, at 16:24, Shawn Dyer dropped in a 15-footer off a quick steal in the backcourt for a 9-6 lead with 16:13. C.J. Hester cashed in another Pioneer turnover for an 11-6 bulge at 16:01 and the Black and Gold were on their way.

 The lead hit 15 points, 25-10, at 10:35 when C.J. finished off a pretty feed from Dyer in the paint and ballooned to 19 points, 40-21, when Dyer was fouled after sailing coast-to-coast for a layup and dropped in the free throw with 6:22 left in the half.

 Glenville refused to fold and mounted a late charge that closed the gap to 43-36 with a minute left in the half but Bubby Goodwin’s 3-pointer as time wound down sent West Liberty into the locker room with a 46-36 lead.

 The Pioneers were able to stay in touch for the first five minutes of the second half, cutting the lead to 56-48 on a conventional 3-point play by Morales with 14:24 on the clock.

 The Hilltoppers responded with a 14-0 run to put the game on ice, fueled by 3-pointers from four different players – Dyer, Hester, Bonifant and Kelvin Goodwin. That pushed the margin to 22 points, 70-48, with just under 12 minutes remaining and Glenville never threatened again.

 Harris lived up to his billing as the 2014 Atlantic Region Player of the Year with 22 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals. Dyer finished with 15 points while Hester added 13 points and 7 board and Bonifant chipped in with 13 points. Morales led all scorers with 24 points for the Pioneers, who also got 16 points from Lamar Mallory.

 X West Liberty now has a 10-game winning streak in Atlantic Regional play. The last seven wins have come by double figures

 X The Hilltoppers defeated Indiana, Pa., 86-63, in last year’s Atlantic Region championship game

 X Sunday’s semifinal will mark the fourth time in the last five years that WLU and IUP have met in the Atlantic Regional. West Liberty is 3-1 in those games

 X C.J. Hester has passed John Wolosinczuk (855) for 5th place on the Hilltoppers’ career rebounding list with 861 retrieves

 X Cedric Harris passed Mike Mathey (510) for third place on WLU’s career assist list with 512

 X West Liberty is now averaging 31 wins a year over the past 5 seasons. The Hilltoppers are 75-2 at home and 80-10 away from the ASRC over that span

 X WLU improved to 120-5 over the past five seasons when holding the opponent under 90 points

West Liberty Men Advance To Atlantic Region Hoops Semifinal

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