No. 14 West Liberty Blasts Bobcats, 120-77
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – The No. 14-ranked West Liberty University men’s basketball team scorched the net for 73 first-half points and were never threatened here Wednesday in rolling to a 120-77 blowout of West Virginia Wesleyan at Rockefeller Arena.
Coach Ben Howlett’s Hilltoppers (6-2, 2-1) broke things open quickly, cashing in several early turnovers to open up an 11-point lead, 17-6, on a Zach Rasile 3-pointer at the 16-minute mark of the opening half.
The Black and Gold never took their foot off the gas as Rasile’s bonus bomb touched off a 15-0 West Liberty blackout that had the host Bobcats (1-6, 0-2) looking up at a 29-6 deficit just two minutes later.
Although Howlett began substituting freely midway through the first half, the Hilltoppers still coasted into halftime with a 73-27 advantage after shooting better than 60 percent from the floor and racking up an eye-popping 32-0 edge in points off turnovers.
The second half was less of an artistic success but the issue had already been decided. West Liberty’s largest lead came with less than two minutes remaining when freshman Austin Webb fed freshman Luke Powell for a driving layup and a 116-61 Hilltopper lead.
Every West Liberty player in uniform scored at least 5 points and every Hilltopper collected at least one rebound and one assist as WLU finished with 28 assists on 44 made field goals.
Garrett Denbow led six double-figure scorers for the visitors with 16 points while Viktor Kovacevic had 14 points and 7 rebounds. Pat Robinson and Ben Sarson added 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Powell and Elijah Watson donated 10 each.
Jayden Hibbitt had a strong game in defeat for West Virginia Wesleyan, tossing in 29 points.
The Hilltoppers return to action on Saturday with a 4 p.m. game against Davis & Elkins. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. inside the ASRC.