ATHENS, W.Va. - No. 5-ranked West Liberty used a big second half to move one step closer to a Mountain East Conference title here Thursday night, pulling away to a 97-76 victory against Concord at the Mountain Lions' Carter Center.
After Thursday's convincing win, Coach Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (19-1, 15-1) have a four-game lead over their closest pursuers with only six regular season games remaining on the MEC's regular-season slate.
Concord (7-15, 4-12), which had battled WLU to the wire before falling short, 97-92, in last month's first meeting at the ASRC, battled the nationally-ranked Hilltoppers on nearly even terms for the first 20 minutes.
Cedric Harris put West Liberty ahead to stay, 41-39, with a conventional 3-point play just 3 seconds before the end of a see-saw first half that had seen 5 ties and 8 lead changes.
C.J. Hester led all scorers for the winners with a season-high 25 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Goodwin, who returned to the court after sitting out the last 3 games due to illness, added 15 points in 15 minutes off the bench and Keene Cockburn added 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Mike Boyd had 18 points to lead Concord.
Wheeling Jesuit 73
WISE, Va. Wheeling Jesuit won its fifth straight with a victory on the road against new Mountain East Conference foe Virginia-Wise.
Eric Siefert had yet another solid night, leading all scorers with 20 points and adding five assists, despite going 0-6 on threes. Justin Fritts followed closely behind with 16 points, while freshman Kyle Ritz had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Matt Stewart put in 10 points for the Cardinals, while Andre Harris added to his now-1,000-point career with nine.
West Liberty 80
ATHENS, W.Va. - The fast-rising West Liberty University women's basketball team opened the second half with a 25-5 run and never looked back here in blasting Concord.
Liz Flowers finished with a game-high 26 points while Kamarec matched her career-high for the second straight game with 20 points while adding 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a pair of steals. Emily Bucon came off the bench with 10 points.
Wheeling Jesuit 74 U.Va.-Wise 66
WISE, Va. - Breanna Butler scored 16 points as Wheeling Jesuit topped U.Va.-Wise.
Jaila Bryant and senior Taneka Lewis both followed close behind with 12 points.