Notre Dame shocks No. 1-ranked Hilltoppers

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Notre Dame (OH) used a 16-0 run to take the lead midway through the second half and held on down the stretch to hand No. 1-ranked West Liberty its first loss of the season, 89-87, Thursday night before a stunned crowd at the ASRC.

The Hilltoppers (16-1, 12-1) had a chance to pull it out at the end but Shawn Dyer’s potential game-winning 3-pointer rimmed out as waning seconds ticked off the clock. The horn sounded during the scramble for the rebound, ending West Liberty’s 60-game home conference winning streak.

“If that shot had dropped at the end, we’d probably be having a different conversation,” head coach Jim Crutchfield said, “but whether Shawn’s last-second shot goes in or not, it wouldn’t have changed the way we played for the first 39 minutes and 59 seconds.

“When good teams have bad shooting nights, they make enough defensive stops at the other end to still come out with the win,” head coach Jim Crutchfield said. “We didn’t do that tonight.”

The Falcons (7-11, 5-7) came out with all guns blazing and led for most of the first half, pulling out to a 9-point advantage, 41-32, on a free throw by Kalomo Figueroa-Jackson with 4:46 left in the half.

Devin Hoehn answered with a 12-foot jumper and followed up with a 3-pointer to spark one of the Hilltoppers’ patented scoring blitzes.

West Liberty outscored Notre Dame, 25-6, over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the opening half to take a 57-47 lead into the locker room at intermission. Hoehn accounted for 15 of the 25 points.

Both teams struggled during the first 5 minutes of the second half, squandering numerous scoring opportunities and trading turnovers more frequently than baskets.

WLU will try to bounce back on Saturday when the Hilltoppers host second-place Charleston (13-4, 10-3) in a Mountain East Conference showdown.

Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the ASRC.