No. 2 West Liberty Drops 109 Points on Wheeling
WHEELING, W.Va. – Bryce Butler scored his 1,000th career point and No. 2 West Liberty breezed to its 12th straight win here Saturday afternoon, taking down Ohio County rival Wheeling, 109-94, at the McDonough Center.
Coach Ben Howlett's Hilltoppers (26-2, 20-2) opened up a double-digit lead midway through the first half and the Cardinals (9-19, 8-14) never got the deficit under 11 points the rest of the way as WLU blew past the century mark for the 18th time this season.
Butler, a third-year sophomore, became West Liberty's 53rd member of the 1,000-Point Club on a 3-point bomb with just under 11 minutes remaining in the first half but the reigning Mountain East Conference Player of the Week was far from finished.
The 6-5 sky-walker turned in another dominant performance with 27 points and a dozen rebounds – both game-highs – while shooting a blistering 80 percent (12-of-15) from the field to push his career scoring total to 1,024 points.
Junior guard Pat Robinson III helped lead the Hilltoppers' scoring parade with 19 points in just 26 minutes of game action while Christian Montague had a strong game off the bench with 15 points.
Senior Will Yoakum got his first start of the season and responded with a 14-point, 8-rebound afternoon. Viktor Kovacevic rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
West Liberty shot 58 percent (45-of-77) from the floor, 52 percent (10-of-19) from the 3-point arc and 69 percent (9-of-13) from the foul line. while posting a 38-26 advantage off the glass.
Wheeling was led by Jay Gentry's 24 points while Jarett Haines and Jordan Reid added 20 each. Brent Price added 16 points for the Cardinals, who also had a solid shooting night. The hosts hit 52 percent (33-of-63) of their shots from the floor, 64 percent (9-of-14) from the 3-point line and 76 percent (19-of-25) from the foul line.
After clinching its fifth straight MEC championship a week ago, West Liberty will once again be the No. 1 seed for next week's MEC Tournament at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. The Hilltoppers will play in Friday's 6 p.m. quarterfinal against the winner of Wednesday night's first-round game between the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds.
Brackets and tournament pairings will be announced later tonight by the MEC.