Hilltoppers Fall to Golden Eagles in MEC Championship

Hilltoppers Fall to Golden Eagles in MEC Championship

Wheeling, W.Va. – The No. 13 West Liberty University men’s basketball team fell in a battle of top-15 teams and co-regular season champions on Sunday evening, as they lost 78-68 to No. 12 Charleston in the MEC Tournament Championship inside WesBanco Arena. The Hilltoppers led by as many as four in the contest late in the first half, however an 11-0 scoring run from the end of the first into the second proved to give the Golden Eagles momentum and their defense stifled the Black & Gold as they were held with a field goal for more than nine minutes of action in the second half. Following the game John Korte and Zach Rasile were named to the MEC All-Tournament Team.



Final Score: No. 13 West Liberty 68, No. 12 Charleston 78

Team Records: No. 13 West Liberty 25-6 (17-3 MEC), No. 12 Charleston 27-4 (17-3 MEC)

Attendance: 2,000



·        Following three ties in the first five minutes of game time, Charleston used a 6-0 run to build a 14-8 lead with 12:01 to play in the first half. Kyler D’Augustino stalled the Golden Eagle run with four straight points of his own with a pair of free throws and a layup to draw back within two points (14-12).

·        The Hilltoppers tied the game at 18 apiece with back-to-back layups by Finley Woodward and Alek West, and a few minutes later a 3-pointer from the right wing by Zach Rasile off an assist from John Korte gave them their first lead since the opening minutes at 23-22 with 5:08 to play in the half.

·        Out of the under five media timeout the Hilltoppers followed Rasile’s 3-pointer with baskets from beyond the arc from Christian Montague and Korte, making it three consecutive trips down the court with a 3-pointer to take a 29-25 lead with just over three minutes to play.

·        A jumper in the closing seconds made it six unanswered points for UC entering the break, giving Charleston the lead for good in the title match-up.

·        The Golden Eagles extended their scoring run to 11-0 to take a 36-29 lead as the Hilltopper offense was held scoreless for a stretch of nearly five and half minutes from the closing minutes of the first half and the opening minutes of the second half, until a layup by Woodward got them back on the board with 17:40 to play in regulation.

·        Out of the under 15 media timeout D’Augustino knocked down a mid-range jumper from the top of the key and converted the free throw for the old-fashioned 3-point play to draw WLU within three points (40-37) with 14:27 to play.

·        UC extended their lead to double digits for the first time on the night at 52-42 with 9:41 to play in the midst of a 20-8 run where the Golden Eagles held the Hilltoppers without a made field goal for more than nine minutes of game time until Rasile knocked down his second 3-pointer of the game off an assist from Dante Spadafora with 5:18 on the clock to cut the deficit to 60-48.

·        Six unanswered points for Charleston gave them their largest lead of the game at 18 points (66-48) with 3:49 remaining in the game, but a pair of free throws by West sparked an 8-0 run that saw Montague convert a 3-point play to cut the deficit to ten points (66-56) with 2:47 left in the contest.

·        A layup by D’Augustino got WLU within single digits (69-60) with 1:17 remaining and on three more occasions West Liberty would be within eight points but never any closer as Charleston earned a 78-68 win.

·        West Liberty shot 23-of-52 (44.2%) from the field, 6-of-22 (27.3%) from 3-point range, and 16-of-20 (80.0%) from the free throw line compared to 22-of-56 (39.3%) from the field, 2-of-14 (14.3%) from 3-point range, and 32-of-39 (82.1%) from the free throw line for Charleston.

·        The Golden Eagles held the advantage in points off turnovers (17-11), points in the paint (34-32), second chance points (16-0), and fast break points (21-6), while the Hilltoppers held the edge in bench points (24-4).

·        Five WLU players knocked down a 3-pointer in the win, led by Rasile with two.

·        Leading four players in double figures was D’Augustino with a team-high 15 points while Montague and West added 11 points apiece. Woodward posted ten points in the game.



Kyler D’Augustino: 15 points, 6-of-12 field goals, 2 rebounds, 1 block

Christian Montague: 11 points, 4-of-6 field goals, 2 rebounds, 2 assists

Alek West: 11 points, 5-of-6 free throws, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal

Finley Woodward: 10 points, 5-of-7 field goals, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks



No. 13 West Liberty will await the announcement of the 2024 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket tonight at 11 p.m. on NCAA.com.

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