BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — No. 11 West Liberty came from behind in the final minute Sunday afternoon to beat hot-shooting West Virginia Wesleyan, 93-90, at the Rockefeller Center.
Cedric Harris gave Coach Jim Crutchfield’s two-time defending West Virginia Conference champion Hilltoppers (8-1, 5-0) a 91-90 lead with a driving layup at the 42-second mark.
That set up the biggest possession of the game and the upset-minded Bobcats (3-3, 2-3) who shot better than 60 percent from the floor for the game couldn’t find a quality shot against the aggressive West Liberty defense.
Wesleyan’s Colby Wohlleb wound up barely beating the shot clock with a desperation 25-footer that clanged high off the back iron. Hilltopper junior Alex Falk pulled down the rebound and was fouled with just 6 seconds remaining.
Falk, West Liberty’s lone returning starter from last year’s Atlantic Region championship squad — calmly knocked down both free throws to lock up the Hilltoppers’ 45th consecutive regular-season WVIAC victory.
Momentum swung back and forth throughout a thrilling contest which featured 11 ties and 15 lead changes.
Wesleyan’s Reggie Chambers scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half to help the hosts take a 47-41 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Coach Jim Crutchfield’s visitors wasted no time answering the challenge as Falk and long-range shooter Tim Hausfeld sparked a 16-4 Hilltopper run in the first 3 minutes of the second half that gave WLU the largest lead of the second half for either team, 57-51.
The lead changed hands 11 times in the second half alone and the teams were never separated by more than two points during the final four minutes until Falk’s game-clinching free throws.
Harris led four double-figure scorers for West Liberty with 24 points while Hausfeld poured in 23 points — including a 7-of-10 showing from behind the arc. Falk came up big in the second half with 17 of his 21 points coming after intermission while Chris Morrow weighed in with a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Wesleyan’s Raymont McElroy took game scoring honors with 30 points — 24 of them in the second half. Chambers and Kelsey Williams wrapped up the Bobcats’ double-figure scorers with 24 and 23 points, respectively, as the talented trio accounted for 77 of Wesleyan’s 90 points.