Bluefield Daily Telegraph
LOUISVILLE, Ky. —
West Liberty broke open a close game with a huge second-half spurt en route to a 110-84 victory over Winona State in an Elite Eight contest Thursday afternoon in Freedom Hall.
The Hilltoppers registered 60 points in the final 20 minutes, including a decisive 28-7 run that spanned 7:51. With the score 59-53 at the 14:47 mark, Alex Falk’s two free throws kick-started the run. Chris Morrow drained a 25 foot three-pointer then Shawn Dyer connected on a three-point bucket of his own. Dyer was then fouled on a three-point attempt and calmly sank all three charity tosses for the quick 11-0 run that took just 2:42 off the clock.
Falk and Cedric Harris netted 23 points apiece and both made nine-of-17 shots from the floor. Harris also dished out five of the 20 assists by the Hilltoppers. C.J. Hester totaled 13 points and grabbed a game-best nine rebounds while Dyer and Morrow added 12 markers apiece. Seger Bonifant came off the bench to hit three shots from downtown en route to an 11-point performance.
In the opening half, WLU fell behind 7-4 but quickly got back on top as Morrow hauled in a pass from Tim Hausfeld and calmly made the shot in the lane. The squads battled back-and-forth as neither could gain too much of an advantage.
Trailing 34-32, Falk buried a jumper with 5:27 to go. Harris then hit a leaner for a 36-34 lead. Hester and Harris followed that with quick baskets before Bonifant stepped into the pass and made a deep three for a 43-34 advantage with 3:05 to play.
West Liberty maintained the lead the rest of the half. After it was cut to seven on a three-point shot with 41 seconds to go, Harris found Falk for a base-line jumper as time expired for a 50-41 halftime advantage.
For the game, the Hilltoppers made 11 shots from behind the three-point arc (47.8 percent) and made 25-of-29 free throws (86.2 percent) in the game. WLU also made 37-of-72 shots from the floor (51.4 percent). Defensively, the squad forced 21 turnovers and had eight steals. The Hilltoppers converted the 21 turnovers into 32 points and recorded a 40-36 advantage in the paint.
West Liberty takes on Metro State in the Final Four on Saturday.