WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. - - The ninth ranked West Liberty team hit 17 three-pointers on its way to a 108-74 nonconference victory over the Wilmington University men's basketball team on Sunday afternoon at the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex.
The Wildcats (4-9) came into Sunday's contest ranked fifth in all of NCAA DII in holding opponents to just 25 percent from beyond the three-point arc (70-of-271), and gave the Hilltoppers (10-1) fits to start the game.
Justin Thomas and Danny Walsh both blocked three-point attempts in the early going and then Kameron Cooper and Justin Thomas each made a three-pointer on the offensive end to give the Wildcats a 13-10 lead with 15:49 to play in the first half.
But the Hilltoppers, ranked No. 9 in the latest D2SIDA National Poll and No. 10 in the latest NABC National Poll, continued to put up the long-distance shots, eventually finding the bottom of the net on their home court.
West Liberty went on an 18-5 run after Thomas' three-pointer, taking their first double digit lead of the game, 28-18, with 9:43 to play in the half. The Hilltoppers used their full-court pressure to force the Wildcats into eight first half turnovers, hitting eight three-pointers and shooting 57.6 percent from the floor overall to take a 54-34 lead into the halftime break.
The Hilltoppers opened the second half scoring 30 of the first 40 points to take their largest lead of the game, 84-44.
The Wildcats shot 29-for-58 (50 percent) from the floor for the game but the Hilltoppers finished the game 17-for-36 (47.2 percent) from three-point territory and shot 58.2 percent from the floor overall.
Justin Thomas scored 14 of his team high 21 points in the second half, shooting 8-of-14 form the floor and 4-of-5 from the foul line. Kameron Cooper scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half, shooting 6-of-9 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from three-point land. Randy Rickards scored all 11 of his points in the first half, finishing with three rebounds and two steals. Nalik Veasley came off the bench to grab a game-high 10 rebounds while scoring eight points.
The Wildcats are off until after the holiday break. They will play all conference games from here on out, starting with Georgian Court on the road on Thursday, December 30. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m.