CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The fourth ranked West Liberty University men's basketball team went on the road to Charleston this evening and picked up a 98-81 victory to improve to 8-0 on the season and 5-0 in conference play.
The Hilltoppers were tested early, as the Golden Eagles (4-5, 3-2 MEC) got out in front 17-11 six minutes into the contest. After the teams traded a couple buckets, Bryce Butler took over scoring eight straight points including back-to-back threes to put West Liberty ahead 23-21 at the 10:32 mark. The Black and Gold never trailed after that and battled their way to a 10-point lead (47-37) at the half thanks in large part to Butler's 21 first-half points.
The junior guard from Latrobe, Pa. ended the night with his third double-double of the season posting a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four assists and two steals.
West Liberty controlled the second half holding a double-digit lead for the final 17:44. The advantage got to as many as 24 points, twice in the middle of the second half off three pointers by Christian Montague and Chaz Hinds.
Ben Sarson scored 17 points off three triples and a 6-for-8 night from the field. Montague netted 14 points and dished out four assists, while Malik McKinney added 13 on 4-of-5 shooting for the Hilltoppers.
West Liberty finished 13-for-27 (48.1%) from three, with eight of the makes coming in the second half.
The up-tempo 'Toppers outscored UC 23-8 on the fast break and converted the 14 Golden Eagle turnovers into 22 points.
West Liberty will be back on the hilltop on Saturday to take on a fellow unbeaten and nationally-ranked West Virginia State at 7:30 pm inside the ASRC.